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The Eyes of Heisenberg

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  1,598 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
A New World in Embryo

Public Law 10927 was clear and direct. Parents were permitted to watch the genetic alterations of their gametes by skilled surgeons . . . only no one ever requested it.

When Lizbeth and Harvey Durant decided to invoke the Law; when Dr. Potter did not rearrange the most unusual genetic structure of their future son, barely an embryo growing in the State'
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 16th 2002 by Tor Books (first published November 1st 1966)
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In this obscure science-fiction novel, written at about the same time as Dune, Frank Herbert asks a question which has occupied surprisingly few SF writers: if you were immortal, what would you actually do? His answer, which will appeal to many people on this site, is more or less that you would catch up on your reading.

As things are, we're so limited by our puny lifespans. Usually we just read a book once and then move on to the next one. If we liked it, we might read it a second or even a thi
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Eyes of Heisenberg is a fascinating glimpse at a world where reliance on genetics has become the sole principle of human survival, and embryos are carefully "cut" to a specific mold to ensure that randomization is not a factor. Earth is ruled by a class of superhumans that have forgotten how to live, and are only concerned with their eternal survival.

The book is weak in some areas and strong in others. The premise is good; the story at times is lacking. Herbert's character development is hit
Carl Alves
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Set in the far future in a time when Optimen lived for tens of thousand of years, The Eyes of Heisenberg is kind of like 1984 on Steroids. In this society, the rulers only allow certain people to procreate, and when they do so, genetic engineers manipulate the embryo seeking to make these superhumans, who can virtually live forever. The concept is okay, but I thought by and large the execution is poor. For one thing, I think to fully understand the story, you need an advanced degree in biochemis ...more
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Enzymatic balance, genetically-altering the population, and not thinking too much about death: the keys to immortality in The Eyes of Heisenberg. Of course, the powerful rulers eventually think about it and lose their balance based on a family vs. the system scenario that is now the Hunger-Game-standard mode (this book seems like it could be popular without the long passages of pseudo-biochem Carcass-lyrics, or a version dumbed-down created for today's teens...maybe it already has been).

-Ni sí ni no, ni todo lo contrario.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. En una sociedad con tensiones entre Folks, Optimen y Cyborgs, el señor y la señora Durant, Folks ellos mismos y con permiso para reproducirse, van a la clínica reproductiva del doctor Thei Svengaard y exigen su derecho legal a la vigilancia del proceso al que será sometido su óvulo fecundado. Molesto pero obligado, Svengaard comienza su trabajo antes de que llegue el experto designado para ayudarle, Potter, y descubre
Kevin J.J. Carpenter
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Frank Herbert's answer to 'Brave New World' and '1984', so be prepared for an allegory of life, the triumph of maternal (and paternal) instinct, and the fallibility of eternity. It's actually quite engaging and thought-provoking.

There's a lot of interesting concepts and philosophies wrapped up in here, but it's far too convoluted, and many aspects of the story (such as the cyborgs, who served little purpose) could have been dropped in favour of expanding the world and the plot. Also, be warned,
D.M. Dutcher
Not very good. A dystopia ruled by a class of Overmen, ageless and genetically perfect comes across resistance when a chance embryo has the possibility to escape their control. Cyborgs and an underground group of parents try to stay one step ahead of them.

It's a dull and abstract book. The embryo serves as a Mcguffin, and the characters are bland and not particularly likable. The ending is a cop-out, with no real foreshadowing. The theme is okay, and deserves a better book: it's the idea that in
Nov 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Somewhat interesting premise. Weak ending.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I love that which Jung called “synchronicity.” It seems like our thoughts or experiences are often on parallel lines which unexpectedly converge. When I found Brian Herbert’s Eyes of Heisenberg, I assumed it would be a plot based around Werner Heisenberg’s “uncertainty principle.” I wasn’t expecting to find a novel that dovetailed with the material on genetics in a recent book I read by a neuroscientist, Mind of God: Neuroscience, Faith, and a Search for the Soul. Mind of God sees evidence for p ...more
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
On retrouve bien sûr l'obsession de Franck Herbert pour Heisenberg et son travail.

Ce livre ne contient en tout et pour tout que 3 personnages féminin : Mrs Washington, l'assistante du chirurgien (qu'on n'évoquera plus après la page 18) ; Lisbeth Durant, cantonnée à son rôle de mère tout au long du roman (surprotectrice, à « l'instinct maternel surdéveloppé ») ; et Calipine, une Optimhomme, femme dirigeante aux côtés de Schruille et de Nourse.

La description du tyran : les Optimhommes
Une critique
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A nice dystopian story. Once again humanity has made itself into multiple classes of elite and workers and poor. No one is happy and society is starting to break down. Along comes the trigger that blows all of the nicely set up structures and sends everything out of control. In this case its a baby who will be fully human and beyond the elite's control. In the end all the players come together triggering a distaster amoung the elites that results in them having to relise and rethink thier status ...more
Jennifer Busch
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
If I had read this book rather than listened, I think I would have given it 4 stars. Listening, though, was a serious drawback. There were many places I wanted to go back and reread a section but it was too difficult. The audio version also made it more difficult to follow the events.
Carmelo Medina
Dec 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Me lo he leído entero porque... Frank Herbert! Pero tiene 1,5 estrellas. No me ha llegado nada la historia ni los personajes y eso que resulta fácil empatizar con ellos. En fin, no he tenido suerte con estas últimas novelas cortas que estoy leyendo.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was a good piece of old-fashioned science fiction. There were definitely some parallels with the Dune books when it came to the rulers cloning their favorites so they would always have them in their service. Overall, it was a quick, enjoyable read.
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
It's good, in that I admire the author and sympathize with his themes, but Dune covers the same ground MUCH better. I would be so disappointed if anyone read this before Dune, or even read this instead of reading Dune for a second time.

The author's obsession with these themes does make me more likely to read his biography to find out his backstory!
Dave Warawa
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: entertainment
I'm a fan of Frank Herbert and read a good amount of his books. Of course, the Dune series is the stand-out. This book was average to me. You can't have a winner every time.
Carmen Bollinger
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Short and.......ODD.
D Cox
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. Short but sweet. Interesting ideas. Thought provoking in terms of genetic engineering.
Hard to follow, in fact I am not sure what happened. May have to re-listen. Scott Brick was great.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Meh. Frank Herbert is a phenomenal writer, but this book was underwhelming. Great premise and build up but the ending was lame.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I liked this book, even though there were a lot of elements and themes that I recognised from the Dune books. I thought the characters were a little bland (but maybe that's just because reading this made me miss the Atreides family), and there were too much medical terms that I think very few readers understand. So overall not the best Frank Herbert book I have read but still very entertaining.
Lorenz Klopfenstein
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-read-again
"There's a caprice in our universe. [Heisenberg] taught us that. There's always something we can't interpret or understand... or measure." The principle of indeterminacy in the words of gene surgeon Potter, who appears in the first pages of the book.

The plot is set in a distant future, where natural selection has been overruled by the capacity of humans themselves to alter genes and to determine their offspring. The world is ruled by the Optimen, a caste of immortals who genetically determine th
Paul Darcy
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Frank Herbert, best know for his Dune books, also wrote quite a few others of which this is one. And I must say, a damn good one it is.

Frank envisions a world of genetic manipulation is this book, a world governed by Optimen, mortals who have been gene manipulated to the point of living forever - almost. Virtually lost from their vocabulary are words like death, killing, murder and violence. They just don’t happen any more in this sterile controlled world.

Under the Optimen are the Folk, lesser g
Matt Reagan
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a great book that started out very strong, though towards the end it seemed to suffer under the weight and complexity of its own ideas. It features many themes and ideas common in other Herbert novels: clandestine political plotting, conspiracies, code languages, machine-human hybrids, and genetic manipulation. That last element is a focal point for the story in Eyes of Heisenberg, which is set in a future in which genetic manipulation is taken to the extreme and has produced a race of ...more
Apr 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I enjoyed this, as I've enjoyed Frank Herbert's other non-Dune novels. Herbert's shorter novels often feel like initial explorations of ideas (free will vs. determinism, genetic control, immortality, conscience-altering drugs) that he will later address in greater detail in the Dune series.

"The Eyes of Heisenberg" tells the story of several unlikely (and in a few cases, unwilling) rebels trying to survive in a dystopian world ruled by effectively-immortal supermen (called Optimen). The teeming m
Chris Gager
Started last night. Pretty good so far...

Almost done. Had to take time for the World Cup last night. It's turned into a standard pursuit-suspense yarn now. Notes...

- 3 typos so far

- Suggestions of various other books/movies... "Children of Men", "Zardoz" and "Dune"(obviously).

- An interesting book - sort-of. I get the impression that Frank Herbert was a sort of eccentric and super-smart guy who learned all sorts of "stuff" about genetics and reproduction. It IS pretty interesting as I recall it
Mar 10, 2016 rated it liked it
There was a time when if you had asked me, "who is your favorite science fiction author?" I would have answered : "Frank Herbert." That was because I was reading Herbert's DUNE series. But there were other books by Herbert which I did not get to, such as this one, "The Eyes of Heisenberg", published in 1966, concerning a future society in which humans are bioengineered. I only give it *** because I don't think the story--and the future world-- was developed very well. The Optimen have been engi ...more
Angel 一匹狼
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Frank Herbert wrote what for me is the best book ever: "Dune". Maybe not the best written, but the best with its sprawling mythology, its inspired ideas and deep understanding of varied topics: environment, religion, politics...

"The Eyes of Heisenberg" is no "Dune", that's for sure. In a world where a part of the population has become immortal, tensions are rising, as many of the mortals don't like the "gods" way of ruling things. It is an interesting little novel, an easy read, very very short,
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was a quick read, but full of food for thought! The novel takes place in a future time when the world is ruled by advanced (by gene science) beings called Optimen. These Optimen and all of their constituents rely on various prescriptions to live well beyond our current lifespans. As Optimen are essentially immortal they are worshipped as Gods.

The series of events that occur in the book are related to a Folk couple who are to become parents, members of the cyborg resistance, and the rul
Aug 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Found the original paperback at a booksale recently and decided to indulge myself while slogging through Inferno by Dan Brown.

I loved Frank Herbert. I loved his early books and I was passionate about Dune, so I was happy to see this book nestled next two old Andre Norton paperbacks which I also bought.

It's fun to watch Frank Herbert (in 1966!) take on the potential dangers and pitfalls of genetic engineering and move 30,000 years into the future where the Optimen, a group of immortals (but steri
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Frank Herbert was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author.

He is best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, dealt with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics, and power, and is widely considered to be among the classi
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