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Perihelion Summer

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  191 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Greg Egan's Perihelion Summer is a story of people struggling to adapt to a suddenly alien environment, and the friendships and alliances they forge as they try to find their way in a world where the old maps have lost their meaning.

Taraxippus is coming: a black hole one tenth the mass of the sun is about to enter the solar system.

Matt and his friends are taking no chances
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by St. Martins Press-3PL
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3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  191 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Cathy (cathepsut)
“People have had a couple of years to stockpile whatever they wanted, even if they thought the chance of anything happening was minuscule. The only ones who haven’t done that are temperamentally incapable of entertaining the possibility of disaster, and nothing they’ve heard in the last few days is going to change their minds.”

A third into this short novel (slightly overlong novella?) things haven’t changed so dramatically yet. And the old maps still work perfectly. Or rather, the frog is boilin
Holly (The Grimdragon)
3.5 Stars~

"There had to come a point when the sluggish motion of the Taraxippoi across the sky was replaced by a sudden rush, like a train rattling by--and the longer it took for this oncoming train to appear to veer sideways, the closer that placed the Earth to the tracks. If you were waiting for a sign that the headlights were no longer bearing down on you, no news was bad news."

Alrighty.. let's see if I can make this mini review a bit more.. mini. My last attempt wasn't as short as I was hopi
Kam Yung Soh
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-and-fantasy
An interesting tale of immediate survival in the face of catastrophic climate change. Compared to his previous stories, there isn't as much 'hard science' involved here, but surviving the changes would involve making tough decisions about how they can prepare and save themselves from the oncoming global crises.

The story starts with the discovery of a black hole that is passing through the solar system. Initially worried about the possibility of huge tides induced by the black hole, a group of pe
May 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
I read this in a sitting. Im a huge fan of Egan. This is obviously a novella of his. I love his scifi like permutation city, quarantine and also his short stories. This however is what some would classify as cli-fi. Climate change, end of the world and detailed descriptive science. My issue was that it didnt really have much of a plot. It was really just a group of people, main guy Matt, and othera dealing with issue surrounding them. It may have worked better as a fully fleshed out novel. Just ...more
Pavel Lishin
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Eh, not the best. A series of connected issues with surviving in a changed world, and an obvious "what if ecological change took place over a single season rather than creeping up over decades" message.

I think it would be better if it were a longer novel.

Also, I'm your classic scifi nerd, and am really bummed we didn't get to spend more time with Taraxippus.
Taraxippus is a rogue black hole, smaller than the Sun, making its way through the Solar System. It's estimated to pass by Earth, where it could do a number of things, like suck off most of Earth's atmosphere, jar the planet from its orbit, or simply destroy it. Matt, our main character, plans to be offshore on a self-sustaining boat when this happens. This is where Perihelion Summer begins.

This is the second story of Egan's I've read, and both of those stories have been novellas. In both cases,
Alexander Tas
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Read the whole review at The Quill to Live:

Climate change is an issue that has plagued me ever since I walked out of the theater after seeing An Inconvenient Truth. I was always a bit of an environmentalist, having been exposed to Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest as a small child, but this felt bigger than my seventeen-year-old brain could comprehend. The documentary was the catalyst for the veritable avalanche of books and films that would eventually lea
Shorouk Abd Elhamed
May 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
1.5 stars
Dnf at 50℅

Review for the half:
This had scientific heavy stuff at the beginning so if you don't like stars , black holes and stuff like that,Stay away. The writing style was dense for my taste . I got used to it after dozen pages or so but there was nothing keeping me reading other than just trying to finish the book not any thing else. The characters were not strong but I think the story depended more on the plot.Aaron and Arun confused me . The author should have used other names. I ha
Matt Payne
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Greg Egan's one of the best sci-fi writers ever, and one of the best storytellers in sci-fi.

This is a beautiful page-turner about a really tough global situation, seen through the eyes of a small handful of craftspeople facing Armageddon. The focus on craftsmanship and cooperation, in the face of cosmic catastrophe, is genuinely inspiring.
Jeremy Eaton
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
A book about climate change that uses the premise of an approaching black hole in order to turn the crisis into an immediate emergency. This is not the hard scifi you'd come to expect from Egan. It reads like "2012: the movie: the book".

The first half gave off strong Seveneves vibes though, and that energy was able to push this short read into a generous 3 stars.
Rachel England-Brassy
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook
Hmm a bit also ran as it lacks tension and the plotting is vague at times.
Jay Batson
An average outing from a normally excellent author. Egan leverages his math & physics love to provide interesting books that arise from the application of math in science fiction settings.

Here, he's postulated that a pair of tiny black holes orbiting each other (binary-style) hurtle thru our local solar system. They don't hit / obliterate earth - but they have an impact on our solar orbit, which impacts the earth's ecosystems.

The remainder of the book then deals with the downstream effects o
Tsana Dolichva
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Perihelion Summer by Greg Egan is a standalone science fiction novella from The combination of author I like and imprint of consistently good novellas meant that I was definitely going to read this at some point. Happily I got an early copy, so I can share this review just before release.

The premise of this book is a fairly technical apocalypse, involving black holes. There are some maths and physics details near the start, but it’s not opaquely technical, in my opinion. Most of the sto
Ron Henry
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of those occasional "people in the here and now" Greg Egan books. I think back with a bit of fondness on his novels Zendegi and Distress, both of which also stand out as human stories in the midst of the bulk of Egan's (sometimes infamous, for those lacking deep math and physics knowledge) writings in the sci-fi mathosphere / theorisphere. (I should admit I didn't make it past the first volume in Egan's "Orthogonal" series about the hard-to-picture aliens in their universe of almost-impossib ...more
Dan Trefethen
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a more accessible tale than the harder than hard physics stories that Egan specializes in, but that doesn't make it better. The McGuffin is a black hole (a pair, actually) that perturbs the Earth's orbit just enough to bring drastic climate change upon us immediately. It's survivable, but many millions of people are going to die, sort of a 'slow apocalypse'.

The protagonist has a bespoke seagoing vessel that can save some thousand or so people, but not more. Who to save? His own family d
Jordan Anderson
Anyone who knows me knows I love disaster novels. The bigger the destruction or hopelessness, the more I latch on.

Perihelion Summer had the makings of just such a book. Yes, it deals with the BS science of climate change, but at least it’s not man made this time around and, having caused by an unavoidable interaction with a black hole made for one of the more original concepts I’ve read.

The issue though, despite its short length (seriously, give me untold pages of this stuff) is that it’s just t
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This novel started out with big ideas about catastrophe and change to the planet, but then the story got very small and became more of a survival story than science fiction. I suppose that's the way life would go after some sort of natural apocalypse, but I missed the hard sci-fi and big ideas. The details that were there were more of an adventure story. I did appreciate the setting in Australia and the southern Pacific, and it was a brief novel, so it didn't require an undue amount of time. So, ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
This was OK. I think it was pretty short, could use more character development, and had kind of a non-ending. But I liked the efforts to find a way to survive in a drastically changed environment, and I liked the discussion of how these changes would affect people and what would happen as people become increasingly desperate.
Easily the least preachy of the three 'relevant political issues' novellas, but it still had some pacing problems, and the fact that the female characters never got to do anything on screen frustrated me to no end.
Amy Hietapelto
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book’s premise. The writing is good.

However it is far too short, and therefore the characters are not developed enough. The plot jumps ahead months or more at a time. This ought to be 3 times as long.

More on the black hole, too.
Elaine Mooney
A good idea but not very well delivered

The synopsis looked great, but the book doesn't live up to it. It's more a short story, for a start, and has a very poor ending. It just stops, with no clear resolution. I have read similar, much better, books
Tom Tresansky
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
So, I liked the setup, but was that really worth a novel? Seemed like it might have been better suited for a shorter form if there wasn't going to be anything else to the story or characters. And then it just stops...
Apr 18, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Greg Egan has a good story going here but unfortunately he stops it about halfway through. It’s much more of a novella and it is a novel. I cannot recommend this to others.
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Review forthcoming.
Alexander Pyles
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
A somewhat pretty standard hard sci fi survival story, which an interesting catalyst. Egan's work reads like a thoroughly researched conference paper, but carries itself like a well paced thriller.
Xavier Alexandre
Apr 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
The story is utterly irrational: following a brush with binary black holes, earth changes orbit and gets closer to the sun. The main characters of the book rush to Antartica on a boat/raft/closed circle farm. The rest of mankind is dying off but strangely, many choose to stay and to believe they can rough out the summer. Most of Antartica has melted but curiously, Perth is not flooded. Etc...
Very disappointing story for a hard sci-fi reader. It's the opposite of an epic story.
Rick Brose
I was not totally clear on exactly what happened with the world in this novella, but the focus on one character in this larger context made me connect with the material anyway. I like how down to earth the characters felt. They made smart decisions. Overall, it felt realistic and grounded.
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it
It's short! Like, 200 pages.
Joseph Vilas
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: science fiction readers
SpecFic novella: finished in in 3 hours. Very cinematic. Themes: space, climate change, self-sufficiency. Could hardly put it down.
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Greg Egan specialises in hard science fiction stories with mathematical and quantum ontology themes, including the nature of consciousness. Other themes include genetics, simulated reality, posthumanism, mind transfer, sexuality, artificial intelligence, and the superiority of rational naturalism over religion.

He is a Hugo Award winner (and has been shortlisted for the Hugos three other times), an