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Tides of Light

(Galactic Center #4)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,395 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Now in a new, revised edition, the fourth book of the Nebula Award-winning author's Galactic Center series is a classic tale of man's future and fate--and the greatest mystery from outer space that humanity has ever encountered. ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Aspect (first published January 1st 1989)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  1,395 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Stewart Tame
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Make no mistake. There are some mind-blowing concepts in this book. A band of humans are on the run from a race of mechanical beings. They've stolen a ship and eluded pursuit, heading for a star system that should support them. But when they arrive, they find a destroyed and abandoned mech civilization. It seems that there may be greater threats than the one they fled …

I started this book a little off balance. It's the second in a series, and I haven't read the first. It didn't take long to get
Mouldy Squid
Aug 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Following the departure of the Family Bishop from Snowglade, Tides of Light continues the Galactic Centre Saga by Gregory Benford. Here, Benford finally hits his stride with this series. He deftly introduces more pieces to the intragalactic puzzle he only hinted at in Great Sky River and presents us with a credible alien race. While the science here is not as hard as we are usually accustomed to with Benford, his writing is at the same level as his Sunborn.

Tides of Light details the adventures o
Vincent Stoessel
My kind of #scifi! More in depth review at a later date. TGIF
Nov 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
This was a disappointing follow-on to "Great Sky River", and it was largely pacing that made the early-middle section of the book such a slog. At one point, I started to seriously consider Benford might be paying a kind of snarky homage to bad "Golden Age" science fiction, but eventually (and I do mean eventually), he remembered the story was supposed to be heading somewhere and managed to rescue the storyline from an otherwise ignominious end.

2.5 stars for this book plus an arbitrary .5 stars t
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The fourth book of this series has been the best so far. This one of the relatively few books where aliens actually feel alien and not just as a placeholder for an agenda or faction.

The focus on this book is Kileen, the protagonist of the 3rd book and Quath, an alien. The book switches between their points of view and does a great job of being hard SF at it's best.
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, sciencefiction
Gregory Benford describes himself as a physicist and amateur writer. If only more professional writers were as inspired. This is the first of this series I've read and it is wonderful. As in full of wonders - all the while being prone to sudden furious flashes of heightened surprise and delight. ...more
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it
A bit of a disappointment after the great Great Sky River. It bogs down in some more of the same from that book, and while Benford continues the more nuanced take on issues of authority that he started in the last book, he also reintroduces a source of comically bad human authority, ala the first two books. There are of course some great ideas. A new advanced race of aliens with a fantastic toy at their disposal is a great addition, and one in particular is a major character. Through their POV a ...more
Ciro Strazzeri
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Continua l'avventura verso la soluzione del mistero del ruolo dell'umanità nella galassia ...more
7/10. Media de los 8 libros leídos del autor: 6/10.

Su aclamada saga del “Centro Galáctico” está bien (solo bien, para mí. Los mejores el 3 y este 4)
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Benford, Gregory. Tides of Light. Galactic Center No. 4. Bantam, 1989.
The collaboration between Gregory Benford and Larry Niven on The Bowl of Heaven in 2012 sparked a discussion between them about the differences between Big Dumb Objects and what they wanted to call the alien object they were building, a Big Smart Object. Benford might have mentioned that in Tides of Light, he had already created several BSOs. If you like epic-scale hard scifi, you can’t do much better than Benford. Tides of Li
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Weak action, rather uninteresting characters, pointless aspirations, too many deux ex machinae.

The beginning of the book reads a lot like Idiocracy - "we're on this spaceship where everything is breaking and we have no idea how to fix it, and learning is just too haaaard!" - but without the sense of whatever-the-hell-it-was that Pump Six brought to the same situation.

Space travel is never adequately explained, but this IS the fourth book in the series so i will give it a very tentative benefit
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Set long into the future when humans have become a relict of their former glory. Once a space-faring race they are now confined to a few individual planets in the outer reaches of the galaxy, confined by the increased deprivations of the mech, a robot mechanical species who have virtually taken over control of the galaxy. The book is set in three distinct parts. The first, the humans voyage of flight from their devastated home planet out into space to a new world. In fact this flight has been pl ...more
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
This is the fourth book in Benford's "Galactic Center" series, and the second one set far in the future. I finally liked it. But it was a tough slog through the middle third or so. I think the whole book could have used the tightening of another draft.

To his previous war between man and mechs, the author adds insectoid cybers and other organic and inorganic lifeforms that may or may not be sentient. The fascinating and frustrating part of this book was the totally alien point of view that the cy
Sep 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
TIDES OF LIGHT continues the saga of Killeen and the Family Bishop where Benford left off at the end of GREAT SKY RIVER. Having recently reread GREAT SKY RIVER, it is almost impossible for me to not compare these two tales. The stories of many of the characters continue in TIDES OF LIGHT and their growth and changes are very believable, but overall I think GREAT SKY RIVER is the better book. This is still a good book, maybe a very good book, but not of the caliber of its’ predecessor.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Need to read book as part of overall series..... I just picked up reading this book without reading earlier book.... I had some difficulty at the beginning but resolved by mid point of story. Overall rating should have been higher as interest in story evolved to an interesting excursion.
I would recommend. (Did not realize that I had previously read the book in 2018 until I was 2/3 of the way finished).
Sep 29, 2012 rated it liked it

I love hard sci-fi because it is grounded in realism, I can almost believe it could come true. What I dislike about hard sci-fi is that it is often written by scientists. Their stories often lack the depth of human emotion that makes for good story telling. This book fits that profile. The storyline is excellent but the story telling was dry.
Sherrill Watson
Jul 15, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear. I read the first couple of chapters. Then slogged thru the next couple. Finally gave up & read the last chapter. So there's a terrible fight throughout this long book, Killeen (who's not very bright) loses his soul mate / girlfriend and finally get away and goes in search of more adventures. Sorry, I couldn't get into this, and I like sci-fi. ...more
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Bleh. I got this because I enjoyed Great Sky River a long time ago and wondered what happened to all the characters. I ended up skimming this one to see the general plot points and the resolution, the actual plot seemed forced in to continue the same series forward.
Tom Britz
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
The fourth book in the Galactic Center series.
May 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Seems sort of made up as benford goes along...
Paul Trott
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great read. Author can actually write, the story is actually interesting, despite the first couple of books (which sucked)
Stephen Antczak
Sep 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The story continues to be interesting.
Jon Senn
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
This one was alright, but didn't compel me to read the next book in the series. Probably didn't help that I didn't know this was the 4th book in a series when I read it. ...more
Feb 23, 2013 rated it liked it
too long and rather boring pace.
Oct 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
The first two books of the Galactic series were Ok, the next two were very good.
Jay McMullen
Nov 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Not bad.
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this one. Another of Benford's 'hard SF' novels. ...more
Jul 26, 2011 marked it as read-pre-2008
Shelves: science-fiction
This book is fantastic, taking its reader on a wild voyage of the far future through the vast galaxy.
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Gregory Benford is an American science fiction author and astrophysicist who is on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine.

As a science fiction author, Benford is best known for the Galactic Center Saga novels, beginning with In the Ocean of Night (1977). This series postulates a galaxy in which sentient organic life is in constant warfare wit

Other books in the series

Galactic Center (6 books)
  • In the Ocean of Night (Galactic Center, #1)
  • Across the Sea of Suns (Galactic Center, #2)
  • Great Sky River (Galactic Center, #3)
  • Furious Gulf (Galactic Center, #5)
  • Sailing Bright Eternity (Galactic Center, #6)

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