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The Cloud

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,094 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
2033. The first alien radio transmissions have been received on Earth—a torrent of encrypted information that no human or computer can crack. But the decision to reply is made, and messages of goodwill are beamed into deep space. Thirty years later, just as humankind is expecting a reply from the aliens, the signals disappear. Then scientists detect a space cloud approachi ...more
Paperback, 389 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Macmillan UK (first published 2007)
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Nikola Tasev
Apr 19, 2010 rated it did not like it
The idea is interesting. We receive signals from space. After we reply the signals stop and we find a cloud is approaching.
Everything else is a total loss.
The writing style is first grade, as in written by a first grade schoolboy telling a story. We are being told almost everything, and shown very little. The little dialog used for exposition is forced and lifeless. The people all behave the same and seem like cardboard cutouts. The love story feels absurdly fake, just like the tragedies that
...more
Joseph Delaney
I was intrigued by the title of the Hammond novel because many years ago I read a book with a very similar title: ‘The Black Cloud’ by Fred Hoyle, published in 1957.
Hoyle was an astrophysicist who wrote fiction and the basic idea was that a huge cosmic cloud approached our solar system and threatened to bring about the end of life on earth. Then there was a twist – the cloud turned out to be sentient and very intelligent and humans started to communicate with it. It is an excellent book written
...more
Shelley
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
A professor of computer science tries to decode radio signals from a distant planet in order to save the world.

Interesting plot, but I feel it all got lost amidst the infinite detail and repetition of events: for example: scientists warned what would happen to the planet, then there would be a news clipping repeating what the scientists said, THEN the story went over the same details as it happened.
The cyber battle between Bill and Jerome was downplayed - I believe this would have made an inte
...more
Patrick Barnes
Mar 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring, predictable and all Anglo

The characters are shaky. None stray too far from their stereotype which is probably good. There is no character development of growth. The dialogue is what you'd expect within those parameters and moved the story along.

The plot is opaque to me, at least. The U.S. government spends all of its efforts to save itself from this possible doomsday. The Science Advisor is a political appointee who cashed in as a young PHD, gives the advice the Pentagon wants to hear a
...more
Aleksi Aleksiev
A very, very mediocre book. It reads exactly like one of the crappy Emmerich disaster movies. If the author wants some bucks he should go ahead and offer it. There is a good chance that Hollywood will gobble it up. Forgettable characters, obvious problems in scientific and purely logical events - I have no idea what the consultants mentioned in the beginning were doing, but damn, they missed some big stuff. The cloud is coming toward Earth from the Sun but somehow it reflects light so much that ...more
Aristos
Mar 30, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I gave up at 75% finished: plot absurdity

I tried. I really tried to finish this book. It had one interesting idea I wanted to see play out, but the absurd tech and military plot holes eventually caved the story. Really? The prez is going to take a spare 12 hours to call world leaders when you’ve just said that he has them all in constant communication? Main character is going to fly to Boston in the middle of multiple hurricanes? Why? So you can stop a super AI with the magic boxes that your fri
...more
MXGRLS
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There MUST BE a sequel! Both sides this time

I liked this book because we humans have debated the pros and cons of creating sentient and emotional computers. I am surprised the author did not employ the nuclear magnetic pulse as his choice for destroying the computer take over. But I enjoyed the wonderful play by play of everything. At first, it seemed like two separate stories but oh woww! I'm definitely recommending this book. Hopefully it is available on Audible. Because I want my brilliant so
...more
Aviar Savijon
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Cloud

A look into the future that isn't the best to look at but a probable outcome from the technology we consume today. I Loved It!
Yvonne Debona
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fast paced thriller

Sci-fi at its best. Futuristic but entirely possible and believable. As humans we long for intelligent and empathetic entities that share our universe with us. But as a wise scientist once enjoined our species that it might behoove us to be quiet and not announce ourselves to everything out there. While media might give us images of friendly, cute ET what we might find are mean, bad-assed, blood sucking, want our pretty planet for themselves biker aliens.
Ed Tinkertoy
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book four star because I loved the first half of the book. But then the second half of the book had some actions that seemed rather questionable to me. Like when the AI, Jerome, took over all of the computer networks all over the Earth and cut off communications with the rest of the world. Yet the people in the military bunker in Arizona could still communicate with whomever they needed to talk to. And then there are hurricane force 300 MPH winds blowing and not only helicopter but a ...more
William L.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who's Out There? You Don't Wanna Know

"The Cloud" is an intriguing and thought provoking read. We've never known just who or what is residing in the vast universe around us might turn out to be, and we might be a bit naive to assume whatever entities are "out there" would, necessarily, be friendly.
"The Cloud" has enough hard science to make it a realistic read, but enough heart to develop appealing characters. I would compare this to "The Martian" in the way technical jargon is interwoven in suc
...more
Barbara Pelosi
Feb 03, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Great Book for Insomniacs

The premise behind this book is interesting, as are so many other books that deal with IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE. The only difference is that this book is about a man-eating c!oud instead of little green men from Mars. In an effort to mask the similarities the author devoted WAY too many pages on scientific gobbledegook. Instead of masking the similarities it simply offers page after page after page of mind-numbing facts that are so far above minds of typical fiction read
...more
Eric Simons
Just too long

I'm really sorry, I tried hard to like this book but halfway through the author lost me. Interesting ideas that simply ground on too far. Not enough actually happened in the second half of the book to keep me turning pages. Maybe others will like the degree of detail it contained so i won't spoil it but discussing the content but a huge amount of build up with no real pay off. Science fiction is largely about our hope for the future and this book didn't deliver enough of that.
Danail Karadaliev
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it
The Cloud it's a book with great concept and appealing setting and characters, but the mediocre writing held it back.

It will be way better book if the back story was more fleshed out, maybe if we had some good side stories, or a strong side characters that we can relate to.

Also it's important to mention that you likely NOT like the ending - it's very weak (and happy) and not that satisfying.
walter Roethke
Meh

An interesting and original beginning. We then became subjected to a future scope "Nanuck, dog of the North" with two dimensional characters in a boring, predictable ending. No real knowledge of the technology or his use of military personnel or devices at the end.
Robyn Powley
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cloudy With a Chance of Extinction

I liked this book and read it straight through, which means I was fully engaged. There are two main ideas that the author successfully weaves together for an intriguing, original story, one that is thought-provoking and intelligent. This makes for good science fiction; however, I felt that character development was sacrificed in order to craft a cautionary tale.

The cautionary nature of the story at times slows the pace with technobabble, which I began to skim.
...more
alane gail lambert
Started out well but......

The premise of The Cloud was interesting, but there was little in character development, and there were many holes in the plot. This novel would make a decent SyFy network summer film. The concept of artificial intelligence going amok & the military running it's own agenda is not new. However, the cloud itself, as a " wolf in sheep's clothing" was a cool idea. Sending messages and listening for them out space to make contact is just what we humans do in the name of
...more
Jim
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE CLOUD is an interesting and well written novel of first contact. It is also, a dystopian horror story about the sort of warning that Stephen Hawking has been writing about for over a decade. This is a "first contact" story of sorts, combined with a pre- and post-apocalyptic scenario for dear old planet Earth. As it says in the blurb, after decades of trying, SETI detects a message that is clearly from an extraterrestrial source many light years away. Joy o ' Joy. We send back greetings and s ...more
Geoff Battle
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Cloud is original in concept. Beyond that however, The Cloud is a 1950's type sci-fi novel about mankind's xenophobia, barbaric approach to dominance and ultimately a reflection of what may be our place in the universe. The plot simply revolves around potential alien contact and the appearance of a giant space cloud which is heading for Earth (and will strip the Earth of it's atmosphere, and possibly all of it's life). Hammond has no fear about where his book may take the reader. It's very c ...more
Carroll Nelson Davis
Jun 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Immature, paranoid, implausible and internally self-contradictory, clean in terms of grammatical mechanics but poorly constructed and clumsy stylistically. Has the appearance of a brainstorming session's notes preparatory to a grade B apocalyptic disaster movie proposal; cannot say a movie with some similar elements might not be made and be watchable, but that would take different writers doing a whole new story and reading this won't help you or them. If one may perceive a "hero" type in The Cl ...more
Jamie Rich
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
The Cloud (Paperback) by Ray Hammond

An interesting enough read. Set in the near future, but close enough to recognize the gizmos and what nots. The characters were pretty one dimensional, and the main plot was driven by thier various responses to a ginormous, installer cloud of gasses hurtling towards Earth. Which, as it so happens will be completely bereft of life when said cloud finally leaves.
The plot was quick, and usually the science was good. Altho there were a few plot points that simpl
...more
Shawn
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely Loved This Novel

I hardly rate novels 5 stars. But this one earned it. It kept me reading anxiously from start to end. Set in a near future this book has everything. Super computing, global existential threat, alien intelligence, space travel, AI’s, nuclear weapons, government intrigue, hipster hackers, and the right way to build a story to keep you in suspense by discovering things the same way and time the characters do. Towards the end situations develop and you think, “yikes....sur
...more
Stan Waters
Great premise but lacking in execution.

This novel was based on one primise, namely, that our electronic search for extraterrestrial entities could prove to be disastrous instead of beneficial. While a good idea, much more research should have been done in order to prevent the body of the novel from becoming a showcase of ignorance when it comes to the basic understanding of aircraft systems, communications networks, geophysical weather systems, and physics. The author has some talent if sufficie
...more
Dr. Robert Bissell
The book is well written. The story was more of a disaster movie script with a overlay of Cyber intelligence and political bungling. The plot had great potential but dropped the ball at several plot twists. In the end the Cloud was a menace without real purpose that was allowed to merrily go on its disastrous way with a new egoistical human devised uncontrollable cyber intelligence at the helm. How was that good for mankind or the universe for that matter? I gave it three stars for the writing. ...more
Chris Yates
Really good until the end

I was really enjoying this book, although some of the technical dialogue was a bit difficult for me to understand, then the twist happens and it just ruined the whole book for me. Without giving too much away, It was too much of a simple solution that then required another problem to keep the book going and for me it just wasn’t how I would want this book to end.
Richard Burke
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When a radio signal is detected coming from another star system, earth's scientists send a message. 30 years later the signal stops. At the same time a huge cloud of gas is spotted heading towards the solar system. Coincidence or not?
This was a well plotted story with several different threads. At times it was a little improbable but I will forgive the author given the intriguing nature of this book.
Al
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kept me reading. I enjoyed it for the most part. Did find some of the descriptions of the military and the effects on the earth overly long. It reminded me of Jack McDevitt’s Academy Series (Pricilla Hutchins) several of which involved planets being attacked by a cloud from space. It also brought to mind Colossus: The Forbin Project (both a book and a movie) which deals with a super computer taking control of the world.
Karen Blake
A Cautionary Tale

The Good: well written, engaging characters, exciting at times, educational, scary as Hell, glad I read it.
The Bad: depressing, makes the human race look like idiots (which in my opinion it's true), preachy with the message loud and clear: Reap what you sow. Scary as Hell. It's not for everyone and it's not entertaining which is why the three stars. More like an exciting, not boring, educational lecture.
Arlene M. D. Johnson
Unique and brilliantly conceived concept

Finally! An original new science fiction story. Most modern sf is merely exercises in reinventing the wheel. This story is, as far as I can tell from reading sf now for almost seventy years, is. An original. Main characters well developed and the technology was just esoteric enough to allow for understanding. Difficult but necessary to the story
Denise Fountain
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best I've read this year!

This story takes us into a very realistic and believable future where societal opinions still clash with the advancements of the day. Then, along comes trouble that we literally asked for. Just like today, this futuristic version of ourselves still finds us wanting to know more, more, more... without understanding there could be grave consequences. Excellent story, excellent writing. Would definitely recommend!
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