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The Avatar

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  586 ratings  ·  31 reviews
In the immeasurable past a mysterious alien race known as The Others left mankind a challenging legacy, a 'gate' to the unexplored reaches of the stars. Humanity has utilized the gate to painstakingly colonize the Phoebus star system but has left the rest of the galaxy unexplored. In the midst of turbulent political upheaval on Earth, the exploratory ship Emissary leaves t ...more
Paperback, 404 pages
Published 1986 by Sphere (first published 1978)
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3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  586 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Jenny Clark
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was actually pretty good. There was a lot of politics, which is what took me so long to get through, but once I got to about halfway, they more or less fell off. The characters were pretty varied, and well written.
There was the male leader, the steadfast wife, the distant woman, the loving, jetset woman, the sad man, the angry man. I do like that all the characters were strong on their own, none of them needed a relationship to be whole. They all needed someone to lean on sometimes, but whe
Charles Daney
A couple of hundred thousand years ago Homo neanderthalensis was the top primate on Earth. Individuals of this species were aware of various close relatives of their own genus (Homo), though we can't know how they conceived of their kinship. But most likely they were aware of their own superiority in cleverness and resourcefulness. Probably, too, they had vague ideas that other creatures superior to themselves could well exist, though they'd never encountered any.

Eventually, over 50,000 years ag
Oct 06, 2007 rated it liked it
I'd read a few Poul Anderson Novellas in Hugo / Nebula Collections during my freshman year in College and found his blend of Social Commentary with Hard Science rather nice.

That said, this book, his first "Large" book that I've read is a bit of a disappointment - not because of a lack of Sci Fi, but rather at the pacing of the plot, and how the book in general came together, I found it a little hard to keep my attention on the book.

The story itself is about Dan Broderson and a motley crew that
Tracy Johnson
Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it
This is kind of an old-fashioned space opera novel in some ways. The politics are achingly libertarian, ala Heinlein and the very 70's new age free lovelifestyle/morals seems very laboured and forced in 2014. But this author has been one of my favourites and I was attraced to the book. Its very good in places and there are some great ideas, but it is very uneven. As and American living in Ireland for the past 10 years, I did enjoy the occasional Irish references -- although "Pegeen's" mannerism' ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
I really enjoyed this book. The first one I've read of his works since school. Writes nice, clean English with intent. Thoroughly enjoyable characters and story line.
Jul 09, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: specfic
Still one of my favorites by Poul Anderson. Not what you'd think from the cover at all, and the free love bit gets annoying after a while, but on the whole the story is good anyway.
Carl Barlow
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
I know Poul Anderson is a classic SF author of some regard... which is why I was quite surprised not to enjoy this book. On the face of it, it's all there: ancient alien civilisations, star hopping over almost intergalactic distances, action and adventure. However, all of this gets almost drowned by poor characterisation (we're talking stereotypes and caricature here), eye-rolling sexism (never nasty, but certainly very patronising), clunky and laboured style -especially where dialogue is concer ...more
Tony P
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A cautious 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. It's a pleasure to read such good writing, for a change I'm sorry to say. You may not always like Anderson's subject matter (his semi-historical sagas set me yawning), but damn, the guy could write. Here the plot is classic science-fiction, interplanetary politics, space adventure, time travel, and philosophical interpolations.

It degenerated a little in the middle into a sort of Universe Travelogue; however Anderson handles this much better than Piers Anth
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
4/10. Media de los 14 libros leídos del autor: 6/10.
Otro autor clásico bastante prolífico y cuyas novelas, en general, entretienen.
Esta tiene el triste "honor" de ser la que menos me gustó de las suyas.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poul-anderson
Re-reading this after many years. Interesting looks at wonders of our universe and some examination of relationships. Was perhaps less engaging than I remembered and some aspects felt more like teaching than entertaining.
Beth O'Connell
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stupendous tour of the (imagined) universe!
Bent Andreassen
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of Poul Anderson's best novel. Very close to being a masterpiece.
Dec 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Goodness this was a bit of a mud walk. It didn't grab me at all, although the ideas portrayed therein were interesting. The idea of having a sequence of star gate with combinations to travel through which would result in destinations not just spatial but temporal is interesting (how Stargate would have been different if 'chevron 9' allowed a temporal shift...)
I think the issues are the grubby cardboard politicking between Ira Quick and Makarov on Earth and Hancock on Demeter which is vague nasti
Robert Bush
Very dry, rather slow going. I enjoyed it okay, but I wouldn't read it again and don't know if I'd recommend it to anybody.

Supposedly the "purest" of the characters is also the one with the loosest morals. It also bothers me that the captain constantly professed how much he loves his mistress...and then as an after thought would state that he loved his wife just as much. Not believable at all. I do believe it is possible for a man to love two women equally, but the way it was presented in this b
Jun 09, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Poul Anderson has written many science fiction books. I rather liked this story because of the political ramifications elaborated upon and thespeculation about an alien species he refers to as The Others. The protagonists, Rijn and David Falkayn and Dan Broderson set out to win the stars and an empire for earth. Broderson searches for the Emisary, a lost ship that has been captured by an alien. His goal: To rescue some of the explorers on the Emisary held by the alien. To do so, he must find The ...more
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is made up of two halves. The first half has a bunch of politics that I found extremely boring. The second half is a random exploration of time and space. I didn't care much for the cloying love theme throughout the book, but the discoveries along the way kept me interested enough to keep reading.
Chris H-C
Aug 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
It wasn't written very engagingly, its ideas were few and over-explained, and it had that unfortunate tendency of trying to justify non-monogamous relationships and other present-day social taboos in a society that was written to have already gotten over them.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
It's my first book by this author and I really enjoyed it. the only thing I didn't like was that it was a tad too descriptive in useless moments (like who cares of three pages of description of a house we're going to see for five minutes of action in the book?)
Kurt Hansen
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it
It has been many years since I read the book but my general comments are the same as with Poul Anderson's other books --- often unexpected twists and deep stories which in some cases defined the genre for later authors.
May 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Just didn't quite gel for me
Jul 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I have the hardback version of this. It's kind of a Stargate before there was a Stargate. Good stuff.
Robert Riddell
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent book one of my favorites.
Bruno Silva
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
Muito aborrecido. Uma desilusão
Jack Teague
science fiction
Octavio Aragao
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Um dos personagens femininos mais fortes de toda a FC.
Kathryn Cramer
rated it it was amazing
Jan 09, 2013
Ernest Schwaegerl
rated it it was amazing
Jan 24, 2015
Dan Goodman
rated it it was ok
Jan 10, 2012
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Pseudonym A. A. Craig, Michael Karageorge, Winston P. Sanders, P. A. Kingsley.

Poul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories. He received numerous a