Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Golden Globe” as Want to Read:
The Golden Globe
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Golden Globe (Eight Worlds #3)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,067 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, John Varley is truly one of the "greats" of science fiction, comparable only to Heinlein, Herbert, Asimov, and Clark. Now the all-time master returns -- with his long-awaited epic novel of life beyond the great beyond...All the universe is a stage, and Sparky Valentine is its itinerant thespian. He makes his way from planet to planet a ...more
Hardcover, 425 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Ace Hardcover
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Golden Globe, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Golden Globe

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Henry Avila
A former child television star Kenneth , the rich and famous,"Sparky" Valentine in the 23rd century is now an itinerant actor, excuse me thespian scratching out a living beyond the orbit of distant Pluto, ( on a floating, ugly city, an eyesore ) in the future a planet again, worse yet he's a runaway from the law using numerous aliases to stay that way, poor but free not a big fan of incarceration, what the felony was, is never stated . Let's face it his wretch of a touring troupe, of which Valen ...more
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favourite science fiction book by my favourite science fiction author. Set in the same universe as Steel Beach (a modified version of Varley’s “Eight Worlds” universe), The Golden Globe features one of the most memorable narrators in science fiction: Kenneth “Sparky” Valentine, a washed-up child television star who now wanders the Solar System as an itinerant thespian, not to mention conman, thief and general miscreant. Sparky’s wisecracking narratorial voice is easily the most amusin ...more
-¿Podría Billy Wilder haber escrito este libro?.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. Sparky Valentine es un actor con unos implantes muy particulares que le ayudan en su profesión pero que actúa lejos de los grandes lugares y, por el contrario, representa obras en lugares apartados del espacio. Y es que Sparky tiene un pasado del que prefiere estar bien alejado, pero un importante proyecto sobre una de las grandes obras de Shakespeare, el autor favorito de nuestro protagonista, le tentará
Elizabeth Wallace
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I almost (almost!) liked this one more than Steel Beach. It was close. It's all about a wandering vagabond of an actor and his dog, about a thousand years in the future. He's got to get from Pluto to the Moon before they cast the part of King Lear, and he's having a tough time of it, what with running out of money and being pursued by a psychopathic assassin. The usual...
Sep 25, 2009 rated it liked it
SF. Sparky Valentine, child star turned con artist/actor, is on the run from the Charonese mob. Can he make it to Luna in time to play Lear? Though that's only nominally the plot. Mostly this book doesn't have one. It reads like a mix of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, The Garbage Pail Kids, and Shakespeare. And it does several things that I normally won't tolerate.

It breaks the fourth wall, repeatedly; Sparky not only talks to the reader, he addresses the typesetter, requesting that they stop p
Nicholas Armstrong
Golden Globe is thus far my favorite Varley. I haven't read the Titan series yet because I'm an ASS but I don't see how it could beat Globe for a place in my heart.

The main character is deeply conflicted, original, and interesting. As Varley often does, he jumps through chronology. We spend portions of the book in the present (er, future?) and in the past (er, still future?) of the protagonist. What I found most surprising was that I was as invested in both settings. When I read a book that doe
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
This one started out well enough and I thought it was really going somewhere. It had some interesting ideas, both plot wise and Science Fictiony ideas.

Ken Valentine, a.k.a. Sparky is an actor--- or he is a con man-- or he is a murderer--- Well, apparently all of them at one time or another. As a kid, he played Sparky on a top rated T.V. show, but now travels the theatrical circuit either hamming or scamming (my line, pretty original, eh?)

He's got mafia hitmen after him. He's got money problems.
Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The Golden Globe is an Eight Worlds novel -- mostly closely related in setting and world to Steel Beach, which was one of my favorite science fiction novels to come out of the 1990s.

Will you smell a whiff of Double Star as you read it? My goodness, yes, you will. On the other hand, Double Star, by Robert A. Heinlein was one of his best, so there's no shame in that.

But Varley does give things in his novel a uniquely Varleyish twist. The characters are entertaining, and the worldbuildling as lavis
Jul 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so this book is about a hundred-year-old actor who's on the run from the law, and who travels illegally from planet to planet, taking whatever acting work he can find, occasionally changing sex when there's a part he just CAN'T pass up, gender be damned.

There's also a lot of flashbacks to his life as a child-star (and this is in a civilization where career of a child star can last, oh, at least fifty years), a race across the solar system to get the lead role in "King Lear", and a red-hair
Alex Sarll
I think this is the only book I've ever owned with both a mail order coupon and an address for the publisher's website in the back; a perfect encapsulation of the odd position a slice of SF from 1998 holds, neither quite classic nor modern in its style and its projections. But you shouldn't trust that statement too far, and the same goes for narrator Sparky Valentine. He's dangerously silver-tongued, and that's about the only statement you can reliably apply to him, since this actor/crook can ch ...more
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of Varley's very best, and the most honoring of Heinlein. Makes me want to go re-read Steel Beach, set in the Eight Worlds universe, but mostly excited for the imminent release of the 3rd book in set in this universe, Irontown Blues. Steel, Gold, Iron . . . perhaps they should be called his Metals collection? Anyway, fun from start to finish, and if you've enjoyed Varley before, this one is a must-read.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017

It's hard to tell how good this book actually was, because it was the perfect book for ME (as Mikah told me several years ago -- see, I do get around to recs!). Minus one star for too much weird middle bit, and for not foreshadowing the conclusion quite enough, but a good space romp and overall so much fun. I mean, as far as I'm concerned you can't beat the opening line "'I once played Romeo and Juliet as a one-man show.'"
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining. Love me some Varley.
Avec ce roman, l'auteur reprend l'univers (plutôt inspiré de Heinlein) déja présenté dans Gens de la Lune, le canal Ophite et Persistence de la vision pour nous y présenter l'errance de Sparky Valentine, enfant star de la télé (ça ne s'appelle pas comme ça, mais le coeur y est), interprète prodige de Shakespeare et surtout acteur de théâtre à la physionomie (et même au sexe) malléable à l'envi.
On le voit donc voyager à travers tout le système solaire (de Pluton jusqu'à Mars) à la recherche du rô
Pat Cummings
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The life of an itinerant actor stumping from village to town, dreaming of his own theatre in the big city translates well to space travel when John Varley writes it. His brilliant poly-named polymorphic main character is sometimes star and sometimes hobo, sometimes leading man (or leading lady) but more often bit player or street performer.

"Sparky," "Dodger," and formally, "K.C.Valentine," is how this fellow refers to himself in his reminiscences. Because the tale is told almost entirely in fir
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Heather by: Bruce
At the start of The Golden Globe, our narrator, Kenneth Valentine, aka Sparky, aka various aliases, is in a production of Romeo and Juliet somewhere out past Pluto. He's playing Mercutio; the actress playing Juliet is indisposed. He convinces the director to let him play Juliet and Mercutio for this performance, which works out nicely: when a private detective appears between scenes, looking for Kenneth Valentine, Sparky's in costume as Juliet, and the detective doesn't think for a second that t ...more
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another original, intelligent and inventive novel from John Varley. There is no clear plot or clearly defined progression of events. The action is in the first person, with frequent long flashbacks to childhood and early adulthood in the third person. Our hero, Kenneth “Sparky” Valentine, is an itinerant thespian and con man. The setting is Varley’s “Eight Worlds” universe, but the novels in “Eight Worlds” are only very looseky linked so there is no requirement to read them in order.

The story fo
Steven Cole
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The distance between successful actor and successful con artist is small indeed, and The Golden Globe has a lot of fun exploring the line that separates the two. The main character, Sparky Valentine, is that guy, and Varley has him pulling rabbits out of his hat the whole story long. He's out among the outer planets running from killers, pulling cons, acting in whatever manner he can figure out, loving his dog, and spending time with the lovely ladies he meets along the way.

This book has the str
Isabel (kittiwake)
By sitting on the couch I think he meant to signal he was still with me in spirit, but by taking the distant ground he was letting me know that, if she gets violent again, Sparky, you're on your own. Toby was an artist, not a pugilist. If I'd wanted a bodyguard, I'd have bought a Rottweiler.

Considering how much I liked the other novels and short stories in the EightWorlds series, I was surprised to find that I wasn't enjoying the last book in the series very much. Although the story did drag a b
I have mixed feelings about this book. I found the storyline intriguing, but the pages and pages of extraneous exposition incredibly dull and irrelevant to the story. For one example, I really didn't care how a outpost on the planet Oberon (or was it the planet Oberon?) was made and gravity enhanced. There were other places similar to this were it seemed the "science" was just stuck in. While I like science in science fiction, in this case it was distracting. This 500 page book would have been o ...more
May 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mike by: Ratscoat
Shelves: science-fiction
Ratscoat just forced me to read this. OK, she didn't but she described it as "a sci-fi novel where a con-man does Shakespere in space" and I decided that she had forced me to read it. I mean, really, is there anyway I can resist it?
The short answer is No, No I couldn't resist it.
And I'm glad I didn't. Really good story. I could have done with more con artistry, but it was great all the same. It's basically a life story too, and there's hints at stuff that seem to have happened in another book, b
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Varley's "The Golden Globe" isn't exactly a sequel to "Steel Beach." It's sort of a follow on. Part of it takes place before and during the time of "Steel Beach," while most of it takes place afterwards. The vast majority of the book happens elsewhere, though. With that out of the way, it's still a good book. I think I prefer "Steel Beach" to it. But, it's a close call. "The Golden Globe" revolves far less around sex and the decadence of the society and more around one person and his flight ...more
This is a very solid character driven science fiction book. I'm always happy to find some SF that isn't about saving all of humanity or large subsections thereof from some dreadful peril. There are still gunfights and chases in this, and it's plenty entertaining, but in the end it's just about one man with an intriguing past and some skeletons in the closet, making his way from the edge of the solar system back home to the moon.

Was even headed for four stars, but then the ending fell a bit flat.
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
One of the most entertaining works of science fiction that I’ve read in a long time. I’ve read Shakespearean sci-fi, I’ve read future media science fiction, I’ve read stories of future con-men. This book beautifully blends all these elements (and more) into a compelling tale. Jumping back and forth between the later years and childhood of one Sparky Valentine, Actor/Grifter/Former Child Star, the Golden Globe drew me in and kept me there. Funny, moving and imaginative. Author John Varley builds ...more
Sep 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A first-person/unreliable narrator telling his life's story as an actor & occasional scoundrel in a far future time when changing genders is outpatient surgery and space travel is unbearably common.

Varley does an excellent job of worldbuilding (even if many of his novels basically share the same world) and the characters are memorable. The plot meanders a bit, as it's full of flashbacks, but is generally a fun read.
Daniel Salvo
Increíble, pero... no pude terminarla. Comienza bien, pero va perdiendo fuelle cuando se pone en plan intimista, narrándonos las (supongo) entretenidas peripecias del ambiente farandulero. El viaje de un planeta a otro, la aparición de algunos artefactos extraordinarios (esas estructuras construidas en el espacio con... telarañas producidas por arañas gigantes genéticamente modificadas) son indicios de la novela que pudo ser y no fue.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Me da pena pero no he conectado con la historia de John Varley en ningún momento. Me ha ocurrido lo mismo que con Playa de acero. Buen marco, buen planteamiento pero el 70% son divagaciones que no tienen nada que ver con la historia principal. He leído en algún sitio que John Varley es un gran escritor con un mal editor y suscribo totalmente esa afirmación.
Dec 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My first Varley book. He seemed like a good writer who needed a stronger editor. The pretentious acting talk made me groan, the plot went completely MIA for most of the book only to return near the end but it wasn't satisfying.

I liked a lot of the descriptions and will likely check out some other Varley eventually but I'll be reading the reviews closely.
Robert A
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-books
Around '99-01, I spent 10 days in jail, Kern County. An inmate gave me THIS book. It
took three days to read (lots of time on my hands) and I've been reading Varley ever since.
Sparky will always be my hero....

And I never thanked that inmate...So, thanks Sudden Death! Sud, had a solid black, vertical tattoo on his arm that read, SUDDEN (picture of a skull) DEATH. Oh, fond memories....
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dreamships
  • Harvest of Stars (Harvest of Stars, #1)
  • The Dark Beyond the Stars
  • Bloom
  • Growing Up Weightless
  • Vast (The Nanotech Succession, #3)
  • Eternal Light (Four Hundred Billion Stars, #3)
  • Pandore menacée (L'Étoile de Pandore #2)
  • Distraction
  • Millennial Project
  • Lurulu
  • Golden Fleece
  • The Cassini Division (The Fall Revolution, #3)
  • Starfire (Supernova Alpha, #2)
  • Flesh and Gold (Lyhhrt Trilogy, #1)
  • Beyond the Veil of Stars
  • The Years Of The City
  • Hypérion 2
Full name: John Herbert Varley.

John Varley was born in Austin, Texas. He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, moved to Port Arthur in 1957, and graduated from Nederland High School. He went to Michigan State University.

He has written several novels and numerous short stories.He has received both the Hugo and Nebula awards.

More about John Varley...

Other Books in the Series

Eight Worlds (3 books)
  • The Ophiuchi Hotline
  • Steel Beach
“the more bureaucrats there are, the more laws are needed to keep them fed. I” 0 likes
More quotes…