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


3.84  ·  Rating details ·  2,153 ratings  ·  152 reviews
Robert J. Sawyer has won nearly every major SF award out there including the Hugo, Nebula, John W. Campbell, Homer, Le Grand Prix, Aurora, Seiun and many others. Starplex itself was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula. It won the Aurora, Homer and was a Locus bestseller.

Human space exploration has expanded quickly, making use of newly discovered artificial wormholes
ebook, 304 pages
Published September 2013 by SFWRITER.COM Inc. (first published January 1st 1996)
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 Starplex, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Starplex

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,153 ratings  ·  152 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Starplex
Dirk Grobbelaar
So far, all that they could make out was a series of maddeningly vague shadows.

Starplex is just an absolute plethora of big ideas. An.absolute.PLETHORA. And by “big”, I mean mind-BLASTING ….and challenging.

So how does one go about reviewing something like this? It’s basically a “greatest hits” of cosmological ideas, with elements of…

Star Trek

The author intentionally draws parallels with Star Trek. Starplex is an exploratory vessel, albeit one that specializes in First Contact situations. Th
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: do-not-own
Though written in 1995, this Hugo nominated story is stylistically more like those of the older 'golden age' era of the 50's, rather than the more sophisticated character driven sort of modern type. The likes of editors such as Campbell Jr. or Frederik Pohl of "Galaxy" and "IF" would surely have jumped at serializing a story like this. It's good fun old fashioned fast paced 'spaceship scifi' with creative aliens, grand battle scenes, worm holes - in this case, actually termed "short cuts", time ...more
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good, albeit super short. It's impressive that Sawyer can pack as much in to a 300 page novel as would take other authors 5-600 pages. But despite the amount of action and questions and answers, it still felt like it was lacking something. Maybe taking a slightly slower pace would have lent the action and revelations a little more weight.

Holy crap though, what action! There are a handful of big space action sequences, and a particular battle scene in the back half of the novel was jawdrop
Mary JL
Sep 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any SF fan
Shelves: main-sf-fantasy
This was a good intorduction for me to Robert J. Sawyer. I definitely plan on seeking out more of his books.

This, the first one of his I have read, concerns life aborad "Starplex", a huge inster-stellar habitat crewed by four races---Human;Cetecean/dolphine;Walhudin and Ibs.

I found some of the science a bit hard to follow---cosmology; dark matter, etcetc, but the interactions of the four species working together was very well done. The novel showed clearly the advantages and problems of having f
Megan Baxter
I will read all the Hugo nominees. I really will. At this point, I'm just under half-way done, and for the very first time, I've bought a membership so I can vote on the awards. Hopefully that'll mean I'll read last year's books this year, and not two or three years hence, which has pretty much been the way it's gone for the last little while. When you mostly get books out from the library, you're either on a ton of wait lists, or you're content being a little bit behind.

Note: The rest of this r
Jon Britton
Dec 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
I stopped reading at the line, "she was an Asian beauty..." This was written in 1996. No one trapped several decades behind their own time should be speculating on the future.
Storyline: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 4/5

How art thee similar to Star Trek? Let me count the ways. Thou art the Federation's Commonwealth's pride of fleet, on missions of first contact goodwill. Thou has an alpha bridge crew whom is active for every major encounter. An interspecies crew thee maintain, providing regular cultural confrontations. Boldly thee go, where no one has gone before.

Take an entire season of Star Trek, extract all the exciting discoveries and crises, inject
Noah Goats
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this novel was tons of fun. I listened to Sawyer’s novel, Factoring Humanity, a couple weeks ago, and it couldn’t have been more different from this one. Factoring Humanity is an intimate near future story that deals with big ideas but seen sort of on a small scale. Starplex, on the other hand, is a big action packed space opera. Sawyer is great at both of these kinds of science fiction.

There are things in this novel that seem kind of ridiculous (dolphin fighter pilots, dark matter tha
Hugh Long
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was truly an incredible book. Starplex was a rare exploration of the Space Opera sub-genre, and as Robert J. Sawyer intended, did not focus on a military plot as the central theme, but rather, a peaceful group of scientists who's mission was to make peaceful contact with other races via a vast network of 'shortcuts' or stargate type devices. Yes, there is certainly space combat and battles, but what makes this book so different is the anchoring in real science fiction roots -- at it's core ...more
Shannon Appelcline
Sawyer's most interesting science fiction is what I'd called "social science fiction". Most especially Flashforward, but also the Neanderthal Parallax and others. So it's charming to see him write hard science-fiction and space opera. I mean, I think I prefer his Earth-focused books, looking at the changes that science (or aliens!) can bring, because they feel more unique, innovative, and Sawyer-esque, but this is a fun book nonetheless.

The heart of Starplex is the old alien-artifact trope, focu
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classical SF. Big ideas set on a broad canvas of space and time. I miss this kind of novel.
Don Viecelli
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Book Review Number 178:

This review is on STARPLEX, by Robert J. Sawyer. This is the first book I have read by this award winning, prolific Canadian Sci-Fi author. The novel is a hard science space opera story about interstellar travel and scientific exploration set in the distant future. It was first published in 1996 and won the Canada Aurora Award. The author is only one of eight authors who won all three top Sci-Fi novels of the year awards; the Nebula, Hugo and John W. Campbell Memorial A
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this! To me it was a good old-fashioned space opera, first contact, time travel sci fi story. The aliens were unique. There were characters I cared about. At times the characters & their interactions seemed a bit juvenile & dated but I’m still giving 5 stars because I think this deserves better than its current 3.8 rating. ...more
This was an entertaining, action-packed, sci-fi listen-read with first contact and 4 other sentient species working together on the same starship, known as Starplex. Keith, the lead character, is the middle-aged "captain" of the Starplex, who is undergoing male menopause. He's on the verge of cheating on his wife of 20 years when life explodes with sentient "planets" coming through a wormhole, along with a bunch of suns from the future.
Malcolm Little
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-gems, favorites
If you, like me, grew up fervently watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, Starplex takes notes from the excellent TV series and wraps it around some of the biggest cosmological questions of our time. Sawyer is a master of personalizing lofty, universe-spanning ideas down to the people involved in investigating such ideas and the phenomena they exhibit; he does that with aplomb in Starplex.

Anyone paying the slightest attention to the details of prevailing cosmological research would be familiar
Jun 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: g-scifi, reviewed
It took me approximately 50 pages to go "Oh. Interesting." Another 50 to go, "OH. INTERESTING." And another 20 or so after that to really see how even MORE interesting it was going to be. After that, I stopped keeping count.

This is obviously one of Sawyer's earlier works, he's a bit clunky in the exposition, there's definitely a good deal of interesting in the beginning, but it's shrouded in uneven introduction and clunky science. It might have been that this particular science was not something
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not normally a great fan of hard science fiction and that's exactly what this book is, but there's a really cool story in there too, intertwined with some pretty mind-boggling astrophysical space science stuff. These two elements combine into a really good story, and a relatively short book too. The story has our galaxy permeated with a vast array of artificial 'gateways' that link various points across the galaxy, and there is also two other known intelligent species. These species (includi ...more
Nov 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fairly early in Sawyer's writing career and I think reflects that. The story was interesting with a large amount of astronomical physics concerning the creation of the universe and its' ultimate demise. I enjoy such things and so I enjoyed this perspective. The story itself wasn't bad but somewhat simplistic. The aliens he created were different but again, they seemed simplistic and somewhat one dimensional. I think the thing that bugged me the most was Lansing's midlife crisis. Th ...more
David C. Mueller
This book sets out to do what the author states in the introduction, be his version of a science fiction universe much like that of "Star Trek". There are two major alien races whose temperament is similar to that of Klingons and Vulcans. There is a plot that includes time travel and the main characters having way more say in the fate in the universe than is really reasonable. There is a large, well-described starship crewed by humans and aliens. There is a meeting with a very advanced being. Th ...more
Stéphanie Amesse
That was appalling. The first three quarters alternate between info dumps and feeble attempts at making the characters three-dimensional, most of them centred on the main character's stupendously uninteresting midlife crisis. In the author's vision of the future, the human species has gone so far downhill that the Earth couldn't come up with anyone to head this important space exploration mission but a man with no obvious science or leadership qualifications. The man is literally helpless to int ...more
Andrey Shchekin
I haven't watched much Star Trek (I prefer B5), yet this book perfectly matches Star Trek as I imagine it -- one ship discovering everything, always in the crossfire and always selecting the riskiest decision there is for each situation. So for me this is basically Star Trek fandom.

Of course it comes with all possible tropes: each alien race has only one character type, etc.

Within those constraints it is not a bad book though -- it's simple optimism is motivating, and the physics are pretty inte
James Mourgos

Since a lot of Sawyer’s current writing is strained and when not strained political, I look back at his earlier stuff that I do like. I have not read Starplex (the name of the starship) and really liked its similaries to Star Trek, and the adventures the ship’s crew was having.

Really liked the interaction between Keith and his wife Clarissa as her husband struggled against his “mid life crisis” and a certain sexy assistant who had her eyes on Keith.

Despite that subplot we meet all kind
James Mourgos

Since a lot of Sawyer’s current writing is strained and when not strained political, I look back at his earlier stuff that I do like. I have not read Starplex (the name of the starship) and really liked its similaries to Star Trek, and the adventures the ship’s crew was having.

Really liked the interaction between Keith and his wife Clarissa as her husband struggled against his “mid life crisis” and a certain sexy assistant who had her eyes on Keith.

Despite that subplot we meet all kind
Douglas Cosby
This was a stereotypical sci-fi book of old: fun science, shallow characters, and anthropomorphized aliens. Now I remember why I never read sci-fi as a kid, it was kind of bad back then, and this novel is a throwback to those times. While Sawyer tries to make the main character feel like a real person, his efforts are mainly around the captain of the ship wanting the pretty young scientist instead of his wife -- no new insights or even any new thoughts on this rich subject, just the plain old st ...more
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has got to be my favorite hard sci-fi book to date. It has Dolphins in space! I mean seriously, Intelligent dolphins in space? Where can you go wrong?

The slight hints at racial tension(in this case species tension) is a good touch. You find yourself growing attached to the various species (did I mention the dolphins?) of crew mates aboard the ship as they travel across the galaxy.

The author does justice to physics and does not dumb down his explanations as characters dive into the astroph
Costi Gurgu
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! So many ideas packed into one story—time travel, space opera, immortality, etc. In a way, I think it somehow foreshadows some books to come of Robert J. Sawyer.
Marshalll Vance
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Sawyer uses good science to spin a complex tale, with characters with moral dilemmas, and in doing so brings to light our many fractured thought patterns.
David N
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's just as good the second time around.

Starplex, by Robert J. Sawyer, was the first 'adult' science fiction book I read cover to cover as a teenager. Most of the books I'd had the privilege of reading up until then were relegated to class assignments. (My love of reading not being activated until a few years later). Just like then in 1997, I had a hard time putting it down. I believe the initial interest in this book came from the fact that, as a teenager, I was incredibly immersed in all thin
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert J. Sawyer wrote Starplex with several objectives. As a fan of Star Trek, he wanted to "do Star Trek right." This meant stripping away the military elements of the series, and focusing instead on scientific discovery and diplomacy. Dovetailing with his own goals as a writer, Sawyer wanted to write about how aliens who were truly alien, who have wildly different anatomies, societies, and psychologies from humans would interact with us. As a writer of hard sci-fi, Sawyer wanted to write a bo ...more
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
This is one of the most imaginative science fiction works I've read in a good while. The plot may not be as amazing as some, but I'm sure it comes close. I was enthralled to the back page. The space battle scenes are gripping and memorable, and the descriptions of the various alien civilizations that inhabit the Starplex ship with their human counterparts are breathtakingly vivid.

Starplex exists as a point of first contact; that's one of the reasons it includes various species. In recent years,
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Quantum Magician (The Quantum Evolution, #1)
  • Permafrost
  • Edges (Inverted Frontier #1)
  • The Expert System's Brother
  • 3zekiel
  • The Forbidden Stars
  • Shadow Captain (Revenger, #2)
  • The Warship (Rise of the Jain #2)
  • Salvation Lost (Salvation Sequence #2)
  • Ancestral Night (White Space, #1)
  • The Bohr Maker (The Nanotech Succession, #1)
  • Skywave (The Rorschach Explorer Missions, #1)
  • The Quantum Garden (The Quantum Evolution #2)
  • Bone Silence (Revenger, #3)
  • The Dreaming Stars (Axiom, #2)
  • The Visitor: First Contact SF
  • Light of Impossible Stars (Embers of War, #3)
  • Quantum Time (Quantum, #3)
See similar books…
Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada's best known and most successful science fiction writers. He is the only Canadian (and one of only 7 writers in the world) to have won all three of the top international awards for science fiction: the 1995 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.
Robert Sawyer grew up in

News & Interviews

When you work at Goodreads, it's pretty tough to keep that Want to Read shelf under control. (And let's be honest, most of us don't even t...
123 likes · 33 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“It is the difference: we generalize do not. Specific bad humans did specific bad things; those humans do we not like. But the rest of humanity we judge one by one.” 1 likes
“La Belle Aurore. The Germans wore gray; she wore blue.” 0 likes
More quotes…