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The Real Story and Forbidden Knowledge

(The Gap Cycle #1-2)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  363 ratings  ·  18 reviews
In the far future, gap drives faster-than-light deep space travel, but sometimes this afflicts some with irreparable brain damage. A Zone Implant can turn such a person into a zombie, to protect his shipmates, but it's highly illegal.

Ensign Morn Hyland works for the United Mining Company, which is in charge of law enforcement throughout known space. She lives aboard a poli
Paperback, 544 pages
Published September 11th 2008 by Gollancz
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 ·  363 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Peter Hiller
Sep 06, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this back in my teenage years, for reasons of pure fandom buying each volume in hardback (long since lost/sold/given away) and waiting with baited breath for the next instalment. Stephen R Donaldson was something of a hero figure in those days, writing thoughtful fantasy fiction. This followed the two-part 'The Mirror of her Dreams' epic.

A lot further down the line and the story still reads quite well, but the detail is overwhelming, the lengthy paragraphs of descriptive writing an
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I'm a big fan of Donaldson and his Thomas Covenant series so I was expecting great storytelling from this series. And I'm not at all disappointed in that sense - these are engaging books that make you think and bring you into a universe.

And here is the thing - this is a dark and harsh universe and while I found these books great sci-fi I also found them too harsh and too dark, hence the loss of 1 star.

After The Real Story, Donaldson has an afterword in which he addresses some of the motivation
Andrew Couzens
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stephen Donaldon's fiction is not easy to read. Apart from the disturbing content, unlikable characters, and subversive approach to genre, his style of writing focuses on character psychology in a way that gets bogged down in despair and fatalism. This book, which collects the first two entries in his science-fiction Gap sequence, is more extreme and disturbing even than The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. The things that happen to the main character in these books and the terrible realisation th ...more
Judith D
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-for-2019
Anyone who reads Stephen R. Donaldson's works expects real characters with explicit descriptions. This story has all of these characteristics and more. There is adventure, that holds the interest and twists ;you don't expect. It is a space story about space ships and far away places. With more than one special captain of a vessel to rival Hans Solo's reputation. And, of course, the female prize at the end of the rainbow. Enjoy.
Well written but so ugly a story, so depressing I didn’t finish it.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good

Pretty good but not for the feint hearted . Strong story and world building with well defined but appalling characters. I'll probably read the next one
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's the first time that I read anything from Stephen Donaldson and, apart from some suggestions, I knew nothing from this series. But as I started it I knew right away that this book was going to be, truly, an incredible unique experience.

The Real Story
The first story is a novella with Donaldson telling us the story of Angus Thermopyle; the real story.
Angus is an evil but unsuccessful pirate, who only lives for looting and without caring if he kills anyone on the way. But, after randomly disco
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
I read it through to the end, only to discover there is more books. I won't be reading the rest.

I found the tone of the story or writing or something quite cold that I never sympathised with any character in the story, even the victim/protagonist.

The structure of the Real Story didn't work so well for me either. The same story is told twice but with different perspectives. The problem is the first version of the story isn't really that interesting and the second take is essentially a long rape
Sep 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Though I really like this series as a whole, I think it makes a weak start. The Real Story was, I found, difficult to read and though it presented a pretty cool new, dystopian world, it feels like a very long prelude.

Then comes the plot summary of the inspiring series of operas, which means characters can be identified and plot event foreseen. Though I usually do not enjoy this, I actually found it pretty neat for this story. The going is pretty slow anyways, events could still have been predict
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Make no mistake: this might be the darkest, most brutal space opera you ever read. If you are after "long time ago, in a galaxy far far away" type of story, do not touch this.

This is a psychological study of how extreme a human can be - extreme beast, extreme survivor - and how much one can really endure and change to survive.

This book visits very dark corners of the human soul, and requires certain maturity and courage to read. If I was to name a space opera that was the farthest from nice&shin
Raymond Solsvik
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well...this was a brutal story...i actually got a bad taste in my mouth several times...and it's because of tha authors eminent writing i got through the book at all...Now i'm looking forward to the next 3 books in this epic story...Recommended for all sci-fi lovers out there :)
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a must-read for anyone who is slightly into science fiction. The series is up there with the best books science fiction has ever produced.
I hate this book and everything about it and I never, ever want to read it again.
Jul 19, 2010 added it
This is an HB copy, like new, which goodreads doesn't list.
Luke Burrage
Full review on my podcast: SFBRP #123.
Verner Hultman
Jul 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Stephen Donaldson weaves in and out of the Real story adding new levels to the on going story.
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Jul 14, 2014
Eddie Hallahan
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Jun 02, 2019
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Aug 01, 2011
Peter Borboroglu
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Mar 29, 2019
Luke Smith
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Mar 05, 2020
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Jan 12, 2016
Isca Silurum
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Feb 12, 2009
Tim Clark
rated it it was ok
Apr 27, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Dec 30, 2014
rated it it was ok
Apr 05, 2017
Mark Bright
rated it it was amazing
Oct 13, 2015
Ruud de Voogt
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Jan 12, 2020
Paul Edge
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May 05, 2020
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Stephen Reeder Donaldson is an American fantasy, science fiction, and mystery novelist; in the United Kingdom he is usually called "Stephen Donaldson" (without the "R"). He has also written non-fiction under the pen name Reed Stephens.


Stephen R. Donaldson was born May 13, 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. His father, James, was a medical missionary and his mother, Ruth, a prostheti

Other books in the series

The Gap Cycle (5 books)
  • The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story (Gap, #1)
  • The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge (Gap, #2)
  • The Gap Into Power: A Dark and Hungry God Arises (Gap, #3)
  • The Gap Into Madness: Chaos and Order (Gap, #4)
  • The Gap Into Ruin: This Day All Gods Die (Gap, #5)

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