Patrick Gibson's Reviews > Eon

Eon by Greg Bear
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's review
Aug 28, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: science-fiction
Recommended to Patrick by: evil spirits
Read in August, 2009 , read count: 2 (I'm sorry)

It's a book I loved when I was seventeen. On second reading, I question why I liked it. Oh, that's right, I was 17. Now I know.

The plot of EON is complicated, both in its science and in the political relationships between characters. Everything starts as a mysterious asteroid enters Earth orbit, and an expedition sent by the west discovers that it was built by humans of the future and somehow sent back in time unintentionally. Museums on the asteroid chronicle a future war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The most awe-inspiring facet of the book, however, is where the inhabitants of the asteroid disappeared to, leaving the cities there abandoned.

Bear's writing is atrocious. Dialogue is clunky and unrealistic, there are some really absurdly penned sex scenes, and his description of the characters is formulaic. The portrayal of the Russians is incredibly stereotypical, and Bear never misses a chance to beat the reader over the head with the message that communism was wrong and the U.S. right during the Cold War. With the non-English characters he makes numerous mistakes. The author writes a traditional ideogram to describe a Chinese character's shirt when the PRC has used simplified forms for fifty years. The Hellenic rulers of Egypt are confused with the indigenous Egyptians. Apparently, the author did little research outside of the hard sciences.

It is really a shame that the writing is so poor, because the concepts introduced here are fantastic. Alternate geometries, new forms of human society in the far-future, aliens some familiar and others inherently unknowable. The author's portrayal of a nuclear holocaust is harrowing but thought-provoking.
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Christopher It's not cool to copy and paste whole sentences from my review without attribution.

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