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The Practice Effect

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  2,904 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
Physicist Dennis Nuel was the first human to probe the strange realms called anomaly worlds--alternate universes where the laws of science were unpredictably changed. But the world Dennis discovered seemed almost like our own--with one perplexing difference. To his astonishment, he was hailed as a wizard and found himself fighting beside a beautiful woman with strange powe ...more
Paperback, 1st, 276 pages
Published April 11th 1984 by Bantam Books (NY) (first published 1984)
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May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romantics who read fantasy and Sci-Fi
I have read this book every year since it first came out in paperback. Many of those reviewing this book here have not quite cottoned to the fact that it is indeed a Fantasy book and not Science Fiction. I enjoyed this fantasy for what it was and not for what it wasn't, which is to say, Science Fiction.

As a practicing musician I also am intrigued by the premise of practice changing something other than the practicer. So reversing entropy is not a deal breaker for me. I wish I could practice my
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Тю, да се не види, как се увлякох... докато още се канех да зачета началото само, и без да се усетя го откарах до два сутринта, докато не и видя края на книжката!
А междувременно, то не беше мърморене, като почнат да печелят лошите, то не беше даване на акъл на героите (не че са ми го искали), то не бяха закани към злодеите... момента "айде още две страници и си лягам" го нямаше въобще, не съм се и сещала за час докато не я свърших :)

И за капак, накрая автора те оставя с чуденка в стил "сети се с
Got My Book
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Also posted (with Bonus Author Interview) on my blog Got My Book.

Real Rating = 4.5*

SciFi Novel that achieves the author's objective of "mixing rapid fire fun with challenging ideas"

The Practice Effect by David Brin, read by Andy Caploe, published by Audible Studios (2012) / Length: 12 hrs 16 min

SERIES INFO: This book is standalone and not part of any series.

I own an old paperback copy of this book. It was something that I kept hoping would be made into audio. And yet I wa
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Later on in his career, Brin will learn how to fashion together a plot, to make characters that have depth and to understand how to blend science in with a believable world. This novel was written in 1984 and does not have any of those elements.

There is one intriguing plot twist and I will reveal it right here: What happens if we reverse the Second Law of Thermodynamics? This book is a lame attempt at trying to explain what would take place if nothing falls apart but actually improves over time
It started off feeling a lot like John Carter from A Princess of Mars meets A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. By the end I added a good dose of the movie Speed to the mix. That pretty much sums it up. Except for one thing that made it exceptional - the practice effect. I love when an author comes up with a really original idea that would deeply influence how things turned out in the world and follows it through. It turned a really basic and frequently used idea, that of the modern man ...more
Mar 02, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this is one of the most ridiculous premises I've ever seen for a science fiction book. If it were a fantasy book, Brin could explain all this in some mystical way and get away with it.

If this were the first book I'd read by Brin, I'd have given up without finishing it. Instead I'm merely disappointed that I've wasted my time. Oh, there are some mildly clever bits, but they're outweighed by the silly premise. And his "scientific" explanation at the end is wholly unsatisfying.

Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
I have absolutely loved this book since I first read it at least a good 10 years ago (not entirely sure of the year). I loved the way it made me think about things and how a simple (or not so simple) rule change made everything so different. Was the actual plot the strongest? No. But it was an enjoyable, fun read and it forcing me to think has stayed with me and made this one of my most favorite sci-fi books ever. After reading it, I kept thinking of more and more ideas that could work in that u ...more
Not my favorite Brin effort, but still a relatively quick, mostly fun read because, well, Brin has a creative, imaginative, and open mind, chock full of new and different and interesting and thought-provoking ideas.

This alternative reality/time travel mash up, interspersed with lost of running and chasing and good versus evil, kept the pages turning. Thematically, on the one hand, this has shades of Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, but, of course, Brin isn't Twain (neither as e
Apr 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heh, this book was pleasantly ridiculous. It had such a weird premise that everything that happened was almost a surprise. And I just had to laugh every time they go into a trance and practice up some primitive thing into something crazy, like an airplane. Yes, the plot and characters were so predictable, but still, it's a nice bit of fluff.
This is a pretty fun book. I think it could have used some more depth; some of the characters are only sketched in. Brin is a very fine writer, but this is not his best effort. Nonetheless, it'll do for a rainy day.
Sarah Sammis
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pc, read-in-1992
One of my favorite alternate world books.
Donovan Hastie
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book way back before smart phones and e-readers when you had to buy an actual book. I've since switched over to reading kindle books and remembered this was a good book.

I forgot just how good. David Brin creates a plausible (if a bit magical seeming) opposite to the way physics currently works (entropy and all that). It's a great adventure, the voice of the whole story is engaging and something we just don't get in modern Sci-Fi.

Loved it, this is a must read for any Sci-Fi fan, would
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another oldie from my bookshelf. Despite its original publication date of 1984, it has held uAlp pretty well and did not feel dated for the most part. Although nominally science fiction (the mechanical device that takes the protagonist to a new world, for example), the "Practice Effect" of the title, where crudely made items are "practiced" into smooth perfection, is distinctly a fantasy device. An enjoyable and quick read.
Brian Hofmeister
Brin characterized it as one of his most "fun" books, but I thought of it more as a fun exercise. I felt like he had an idea for a phenomenon and threw together a story to suit it. The story was decent, but felt a bit rushed. I would definitely recommend many of his other books before this one.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun story. Entertaining premise.
The end 'explanation' felt quite rushed, and the characters were pretty hollow, but it was an ok read for a weekend.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A winner

I highly recommend this book to Be in fans and those who are new to work. His books are never disappointing.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lightweight piece for Brin, but entertaining. What if practice makes perfect worked for things as well as people. And thereby spins the plot.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wish he'd do a sequel to this!
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-and-fantasy
Early Brin, interesting story.
Mark Zodda
Enjoyable story that seems a little dated though there is no specific reason why it gave this impression to me.
Tuxedo Mask
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tolle Charaktere. Tolle Story. Und dann kam das Ende -.-
Tim Lewis
Read the review on my blog: Tim's Book Reviews

Premise: The zievatron is a device that can access parallel worlds, and physicist Dennis Nuel has been locked out of the Zievatron Project by his rival, Bernald Brady. However, when the return mechanism ends up malfunctioning, Dennis is tapped as the only one who can fix it. The only problem is that he must go through to the other world to do so. With him will come the “pixolet”, a flying pixie-like creature that slipped in from the other world.

In se
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Der Übungseffekt” von David Brin aus dem Heyne Verlag verspricht eine faszinierende Grundidee. Werkzeug werden hier nicht mit jedem Gebrauch schlechter, ganz im Gegenteil, sie werden besser. Aus einem einfachen Steinwerkzeug kann so bei regelmäßigem Gebrauch eines der besten Werkzeuge werden.

Die Grundidee ist einfach wie faszinierend und ermöglicht dem Autor zahlreiche Wege in der Gestaltung. Schon beim Lesen des Klappentextes war ich einmal mehr überrascht, welche Wirkung allein mit einer bana
Christopher Murphy
This delicious and delectable work is constructed of a somewhat cheesy slice of the style of Michael Crichton's "Timeline", along with a meaty slab of the adventuring feel and odd technological wonderment of Robert Heinlein's classic "Glory Road", and a thin and leafy addition of generic fantasy world-making to (ahem) grease the wheels, as it were; all sandwiched between two hulking crusts of David Brin bread which serve to hold this wonderful idea of a story together. Bon appetite.

In the typica
Kate Lansky
Sep 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The Practice Effect is a pseudo-sci-fi, maybe a bit more of a fantasy book, about a scientist who travels to a foreign land where the laws of physics are ever so slightly different than they are on earth. We follow Dennis, our scientist, as he tries to make his way in this new and crazy world, often landing in a lot of trouble. Look, it's really hard to describe this book without giving anything away, considering that Dennis himself takes a large chunk of the book to figure out exactly how this ...more
Ана Хелс
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Една учудващо свежа и изпълнена с приятен хумор и авантюристичен дух книжка, на ръба между научния сай-фай и приятното инопланетянско фентъзи, с любимата ми формула за забавния симпатичен млад учен, попаднал в алтернативно феодално общество, което вярва и ползва изключително особен тип магия, намирайки любовта, надраствайки цивилизационните си ограничения, и което е най-важно – изоставяйки всичко минало и реално, и падайки с плонж в обятията на добрите фентъзийни времена, дори и с малко алтернат ...more
Monica Rodriguez
I had to stop reading this one. I tried, but the writing was clearly subpar from the start. It didn't flow well and felt amateurish. Heavy on the adverbs ("Flaster smiled condescendingly," "'Uh,' he said concisely," "Flaster ...sipped delicately," as well as sitting heavily, saying nonchalantly, loudly, softly, and so, all within three or four pages!). And the point of view didn't seem firmly in the pov character. Not entirely head hopping so much as the first-person narrator describing himself, ...more
Feb 07, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
A scientist enters an alternate dimension, very like Earth except that objects can be made better by practice. (Is that a spoiler? But it's the title of the book, how could it be a spoiler?) Consequently people never improved at making things, because they can improve things by using them. The hero uses his knowledge of making things to overcome difficulties. He wins the war and gets the girl. (Surely that isn't a spoiler either.)

This is one of Brin's first books. The writing is average and the
Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the Practice Effect before I knew who David Brin was, and when I started reading David Brin I never made the connection that he was the guy who wrote the Practice Effect. In other words, it doesn't really read like a lot of the rest of Brin's work, and if you pick it up expecting it to you're going to be disappointed. That said, it's a marvelously fun story. If you expect your science fiction to be based on fundamentally sound, provable physics you should give this book a pass. (That said ...more
Robert Defrank
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as research, since I’m currently writing a novel about a scientist who finds himself transported to a fantasy world. I was soon caught up in the story and couldn’t put it down. David Brin has long been one of my favorite science fiction authors, and here he brings his trademark with, humor and insight into the planetary romance/sword and planet genre where the main character finds himself in a world where the laws of Thermodynamics have an odd wrinkle, and practice literally doe ...more
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David Brin is a scientist, speaker, and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Existence, his latest novel, offers an unusual scenario for first contact. His ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends
More about David Brin...
“there were few worse criminals on any world than the engineer who blithely and knowingly hands over to a tyrant the tools of oppression.” 0 likes
“Obviously they thought their Lord was giving the haughty tirbeswoman” 0 likes
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