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The Dark Beyond the Stars

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  629 ratings  ·  61 reviews
For two thousand years, the starship Astron has searched the galaxy for alien life--without success. Now, just as the ship is falling apart, the only direction left to explore is across the Dark, a one-hundred-generation journey through empty space.

The ship's captain--immortal, obsessed--refuses to abandon the quest. He will cross the Dark, or destroy the ship trying.

Paperback, 420 pages
Published November 15th 1997 by Orb Books (first published 1991)
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4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  629 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My favorite science fiction books are usually "idea" driven. By this, I mean that characters are introduced only to move the story along. Authors that come to mind are Stephen Baxter, Alastair Reynolds, Greg Egan etc.

At the other end of the spectrum are authors like Robert Charles Wilson, Frank Herbert and Ursula K. LeGuin who start with a "what if?" scenario and study how it effects the lives of the people in the book. While I don't dislike these kinds of books, I generally tend to forget them
SF. Sab told me she was reading a book where this guy wakes up with amnesia and starts having lots of gay sex in space. Doesn't that sound like a great story? I thought so. Sadly, it's only a small part of this one. There's a lot of casual, same sex fooling around, but it's in a culture where "gay" doesn't have any meaning and sex has no taboos attached, so there's no sense of tension. It's barely even gay. I wanted more of an exploration of the sexual politics of the spaceship's closed society, ...more
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
First Read:
Wow! This is an AWESOME book! I could not put it down, and ended up reading its 408 pages in a day and a bit. This novel has everything going for it! Great writing, great story, believable characters, the right amounts of tension, action, drama, thought-provoking ideas and revelations... I definitely recommend this!

Second Read:
I knew where the book was going, so I didn't get many of the benefits this time around, but I still enjoyed it a lot :)
Michael Battaglia
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Generation ship stories are a fairly well-known sub-genre of SF, starting as a logical explanation for how humanity would be able to cross the great distances between the stars without violating the laws of physics, tucking in for a journey that might conceivably take thousands of years. A lot of the times those stories can be subdivided into a few other distinct types. There's the ones where the people on the ship don't realize they've been on a ship for years and years and have evolved new cul ...more
Jul 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Good hard SF. Moby Dick meets Star Trek with a dash of Wandering Jew.

The basis premise is flawed, though. The "Dark" is pictured as the starless void between two arms of the Milky Way which the multi-generational explorers must cross to find a richer area to search. But that's exactly where the earth is. The less crowded neighborhood between the arms may be the best place to look. Like Star Trek, Robinson commits the error of picturing it as having an "edge" with lots of starts on one side and a
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was in my pre-teens when I read this BUT I thought it was so great that I still remember it now. There's so much food-for-thought about the existance of other life in the universe and just how small the human race really is.

And there's a whole lot of gay/bi-sexuality going on and none of the characters thought it was anything unusual. This storyline was also the first time that I realized that all these societal norms we all understand as "normal" don't actually mean anything. Lock a handful
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. My hang-ups included two rape scenes (one aftermath and one short yet overt scene) and a weird reproduction ritual. Nevertheless the author investigated/viewed these in a way I did not expect from 1990s sci fi. The book was also incredibly inclusive, especially for being written in 1991.

Also I'm now thinking about belief in a whole new way, and the overall adventure and mystery of this book was superb. Still not sure how I feel about the ending, but hey, I'm definitely thinkin
Bill Nobes
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite SciFi books ever! I've been waiting for it to come to the kindle for years so I could re-read but finally gave up and got the dead tree version.

Plot wise it's not epic. It's strength is character development and one of the best plot turns I've ever read.

The author telegraphed it loud, you knew it was coming, and it was still amazing.
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Frank Robinson returns to Sci-Fi with a complex, intriguing space opera concerned with the nature of man and of being human which harkens back to The Power. Great plot, great characters, surprise ending, great read.

To hard SF fundamentalists: It ain't hard SF. Get over it!
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I was recommended this book off a list of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror novels that have gay characters in them. Pretty much every character in the novel was bisexual, which is fine, but I was expecting the main character to be gay, so that was mildly disappointing. This has nothing to do with my review, it's just an FYI in case you're hoping the novel is about the experiences of a gay character in space.

As for the book itself, I felt annoyed with the way it was written most of the time because it
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay, gay-sf
There seem to be two main subgenres in SF: action packed or meditative.
This work belongs to the second and has many merits but, after reading a couple of them, I really begin to think they hardly make for good reads: their quality may differ -here it is definitely high- but in the end they always end by being gloom, bleak, depressing; the evil innate in human society is usually a relevant theme.

In this book plot is tight, writing fine and always to the point; a perfectly believable social struct
Nov 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
I would give this book 5 stars except the author's voice at times was difficult to follow. The content and pace of the story was great, a little slow at first but it picked up near the end. I cant exactly put my finger on why the author's voice was strange at times, but it just was. Other than that this was a terrific book! The ending was absolutely fantastic.

I loved the author's take on what humans would be like in an isolated environment for generations and how they maintain their link to the
Abner Rosenweig
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After tearing through "The Power," I had to read all of Robinson's major works and came to TDBTS next. Fantastic! Just the kind of sci-fi I love--visual, suspenseful, atmospheric, epic conflicts, questions of cosmological import, and characters with whom you can deeply identify. Robinson uses imagery ingeniously to convey the irony on board the Astron. Nothing is as it first seems, and the layers of truth are expertly peeled away to reveal mysteries and surprises in a thrilling way. The ambitiou ...more
Patrice Leonard
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
D'une simplicité à couper le souffle, un ode à la vie et à la mort aussi. Je mettrais ce livre dans le rang des essais philosophiques, la science fiction n'est que le support à une analyse d'un huis clos de l'humanité en marche vers sa disparition, son hégémonie ou encore sa faiblesse. sont abordés tour à tour les thèmes de l'éternité face à la mort, de la communauté face à l'individu et vice versa, des rapports de pouvoir, du pouvoir de la procréation, de l'absolu face au quotidien,... et tout ...more
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
To be plain, I loved his style. The pacing was good, the plot interesting, and he used just enough words to get the story to the reader. No wonder this guy has had movies made of his books. I haven't read anything else by him, but I probably will... and soon. Recommend this one to anyone who likes science fiction, stories about deep space exploration, love, loss, sociological studies, human history, or just a good yarn to keep you up all night!
Ingrid Wood
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first thought this would be yet another run-of-the-mill science fiction book. No, it is not. It nicely ties in with my inquiry of 'do we really need/want to know the truth?' that's been running around in my mind lately...

Love his writing style. The question of what is/isn't humanity; genetic manipulation; seeing threads of personalities. It is rich.
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: sfff, owned
Good, but it took me forever to read this novel. There were passages that bored me to no end and others more thrilling. But overall, while it was a well-written book, the plot development however, was waaaay too slow for my tastes.
Mar 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The only sci-fi book I've read that was actually worth reading. Or something to that effect.
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
loved it loved it loved it
lgbt+ (author wrote speeches for Harvey Milk)
TW rape scene

Alex Beardmore
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A truly excellent sci-fi book in my estimation.

This is a sci-fi novel in the spirit of the best and reminded me in a few ways of Frank Herbert's Dune. The story is good, but the underlying discussion of loneliness, humanity, the mind, morality and evolution make this one of the best books I've read.

I'd seen some reports that this book is full of gay sex. It's not. Not all of the characters are entirely heterosexual, and it is clear that Robinson has created a future where sexuality isn't the iss
Eric Holloway
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book I have read in 2017, and it only took me three days because it kept calling me back. The author does a great job at making you feel invested in the welfare of the generation-ship and its crew. The characters were well-rounded and not two-dimensional and the twists were unexpected. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sci-fi.
Keith Buzby
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The concept was a fairly standard sci fi setup, but Robinson adds all kinds of twists and turns that makes it more like a mystery thriller. I would highly recommend it.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, ebook
Interesting generational ship story. Completely not what I had expected. It can also be titled the young and the restless in space or the bold and the beautiful - in space OR days of our lives in space... you get the drift.
Brian ODonnell
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fav book of all time.

Re-reading again.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of intrigue, mystery, which made it a little challenging for me. Def. thought-provoking. And fun hard sf, too. Well-done, and recommended.
Patrice Hundstad
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Liked it and would like to read the sequel!
Dragutin Nisic
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 ****
Strasna prica, vredi...ostaje duboko urezana u secanje
Bryan Cebulski
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, queerness, sci-fi
Contemporary American literary author Brandon Taylor will often jump on twitter to deride prose using first person perspective. While I feel like in general Taylor is being excessive for the sake of humor, he's also completely serious when he asks why anyone would ever use first person when so many more interesting things can be done in third.

The Dark Beyond the Stars probably isn't the type of book he has in mind, as sci-fi tends to have flat characters that a first person POV could help allev
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, favorite-books
The generation ship Astron is on the threshold of crossing into the void between stars on its way into the deepest reaches of the unknown. Its captain is an ancient man who is determined to fulfill the ship's mission even if it means sacrificing everyone along the way. Enter Sparrow, a young man on a unique journey of personal discovery.

I love stories that capture the isolation of deep space. This book has fascinating and sympathetic characters who bring the desolate space around them to life.
Andy Phillips
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: generation-ships
Sparrow has an accident while exploring a newly discovered planet and awakes on the Aston, a starship that is on a mission to discover alien lifeforms. The ship left Earth over 2,000 years ago and has searched the universe for generations while finding no signs of life. The mysterious Captain has been at the helm for the whole journey while the crews come and go, with their numbers slowly dwindling as resources become more and more scarce.

Sparrow has no memories of his life before the accident a
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so many themes, so many open questions 2 7 Aug 08, 2015 03:45AM  
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Frank M. Robinson was an American science fiction and techno-thriller writer. he got his start writing for the old pulp fiction magazines. He wrote several novels with Thomas N. Scortia until Scortia's death in 1986.

Born in Chicago, Illinois. Robinson was the son of a check forger. He started out in his teens working as a copy boy for International News Service and then became an office boy for Zi