**spoiler alert** This book was SO great right up until the last couple pages. I kept thinking oh no, there are only a few pages left...how can they p**spoiler alert** This book was SO great right up until the last couple pages. I kept thinking oh no, there are only a few pages left...how can they possibly end this? Well, they did just that: ended it with no finesse whatsoever. It was like they were given 10 minutes to wrap it up and so they (just Silverberg?) jotted down the first thing that came to his mind and the book went to print as-is. I do get and kinda appreciate the cyclical nature of the world paralleling earth rising up from the dark ages of religious oppression, but it still felt tacked on. And Theremon's capture of Seffira so cruelly was so out of character. Eight hours of talking to this thief and liar and you're OK with just going along with it? There should have been an entire section mire detailing at least how they try to subvert the apostles from the inside..even if they failed. But to just succumb so quickly like that -- all the fight knocked out of you? I don't buy it. ...more
**spoiler alert** Part one: whine, whine, whine. Why does HE get to be the big bad scientist? Yes I loved the science, but it felt like it was on fast**spoiler alert** Part one: whine, whine, whine. Why does HE get to be the big bad scientist? Yes I loved the science, but it felt like it was on fast forward mode and the character just annoyed me.
Part two: a really well-developed alien story with great characters and a great plot twist. My only disappointment with this section is that I kept thinking there was going to be more interaction between their universe and ours once it was made known that it was Dua who was sending the messages. This is something I had been anticipating throughout the entire book -- communication between the universes and we unfortunately never get to experience that. I also hated the fact that it ended so abruptly. I was really wrapped up in all these characters and it just....ends. I wasnt ready to say goodbye to them just yet
Part three: I never really understood what part Barron played in all this and what the whole stigma about being an intuitionist was all about. Furthermore, the book dirdled here for seemingly forever establishing the relationship between these two main characters to culminate in them "living happily ever after" at the end? Meh. The first part of this section dragged on with meaningless exercises in getting Ben acquainted with living on the moon, and then the science they figure out to cancel out the negative aspects of the electron pump was solved in a matter of seconds before I could even blink.
Overall, I loved the concept and the book had me turning pages rapidly, so it did its job, but it's hard to believe that such a flawed book won both the Hugo and Nebula awards at the time. I will continue to read more Asimov in the future as his ideas are great and his work real page-turners, but I just felt that this could have been so much more...more