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A for Andromeda

(Andromeda #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  443 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A new radio telescope picks up from the constellation of Andromeda a complex series of signals which prove to be a programme for a giant computer. After the computer is built it begins to relay information from Andromeda. Scientists find themselves possessing knowledge previously unknown to mankind, knowledge that could threaten the security of human life itself.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Souvenir Press (first published 1962)
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Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was just phenomenal, mostly. I learned of it through Richard Dawkins, who recommend it as a great and realistic alien-contact novel and it turned out to be just that. The story is dominated by believable characters (scientist!) who are trying to make sense of an alien message received through though a new massive radio telescope. It also highlights the greed of human leaders for technological advances without thinking of the possible consequences for humanity as a whole. The plotline w ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A for Andromeda is a tantalizing cocktail nibble for everyone’s inner nerd: a high-calorie concept wrapped in just enough story to get hold of.

Chew on this: the bugaboo with space conquest is distance. How does any sentient being go to or from, say, a planet in the constellation Andromeda, 200 light years away, and arrive in any kind of shape to conquer the local populace? First, even at the speed of light, you have to be on the battle wagon for 200 years. Life expectancy and logistics issues
Erik Graff
Aug 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SF & Hoyle fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I learned about Fred Hoyle from reading George Gamow's work on cosmology as a kid and, being a science fiction fan, picked up those of Hoyle's books I'd find at used bookstores.

Hoyle is not a great writer, his prose being pedestrian and his characterizations weak. His books are more vehicles for his scientific speculations than works of literature.

Of the Hoyle novels I've read, A for Andromeda is one of the better ones. I have never seen the television serial.
Andrej Karpathy
Jan 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
You know how Fred Hoyle's Black Cloud is a fantastic and interesting hard scifi book? This is nothing like that. It is a sloppy, boring, linear and shallow disaster that reeks of missed opportunities and dubious ideas about artificial intelligence and alien life.

I can't imagine a less exciting portrayal of receiving intelligible communication from a different galaxy. Any sciency details (which I've enjoyed the most in Black Cloud) and descriptions of the nature of the code or how it is decrypted
Mar 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I love vintage sci-fi, especially when the story is placed in some indefinite future, but has the poor humans using archaic, outdated technology (in this case computers that use punch cards{Kids, if you don't know what a computer punch card is, Google it}) to defeat their powerful alien enemies.
This is a good science fiction story, as it uses both technology and human nature to resolve a problem. The characters are believable (not too knowledgeable and not too stupid) and act like real people wo
May 17, 2014 rated it liked it
A for Andromeda is a now-lost television series from the fifties. It was re-made a few years in an interesting BBC adaptation, which, in spite of some pedestrian interims between scenes, managed to capture many of the interesting ideas of Fred Hoyle and John Elliot's work.

Briefly, the story involves a message from outer space, which is deciphered by a talented, but temperamental British scientist, Fleming. It provides them with the blueprint to build a computer and even an organic life-form (hum
Sahishnu Majumdar
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Expected STAR WARS and what I got was all about the evolution of Human Relations. Sir Fred Hoyle, through the charachters of the story, shows that nothing can be bigger or greater than the emotional bond between two individuals. That ultimately even machines evolve into humans by developing FEELINGS which are so very human. So may be our species is one of the most evolved living specimens in the universe and all Machines however technically advanced they may be - if they have to evolve into high ...more
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Interesting science fiction, not so compelling storytelling. I coincidentally read it immediately after a reread of Contact, and it's surprising how similar the beginnings are - I think Contact takes the initial premise and develops it in a far more interesting way.
Apr 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
If you haven't fallen in love with Andromeda by the end of the book, you have no heart.
Nikos Karagiannakis
Αν και έχει πολύ καλύτερη γραφή από το "Μαύρο σύνεννεφο", οι ήρωες παραμένουν διδιάστατοι. Παρ' όλα αυτά, η υποθέση είναι το δυνατό στοιχείο αυτού του βιβλίου.
Joseph Carrabis
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A for Andromeda falls into a class I'd call British (science) Fiction. The writing style and storytelling are obviously British in tone and how the story is developed. The story is also from the 1960s or so, so the science is a bit dated and the political bias is evident. That aside, it's still a good read.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
By the man who coined the phrase "Big Bang" in derision of the theory that faced off the Steady State theory of the universe, I did like this book - I suspect it influenced Carl Sagan when he wrote "Contact".
Lena Rakhimova
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
В книге «Эгоистичный ген» очень часто используется эта история как параллель к генам, в роли которых инопланетяне, программирующие машину для управлению ею на огромном расстоянии и управляя ею несмотря на дистанцию которую должен преодолеть сигнал от инопланетян к землянам.
Joserl Moreno Gamez
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
desde el inicio me atrapo la premisa y la sucesión de eventos que se generan... pero el final mmmm ¿EN SERIO??!!... pero quede tranquilo al investigar de que trataba la secuela...
Aug 20, 2018 is currently reading it
To get my chronology right:
1961 - A for Andromeda
1985 - Contact
2002 - Stories of your life and others (Arrival)
A dull, small tale told, paradoxically, with exceptional skill. Even though nothing much seems to happen or matter, it's always engaging. Perhaps as a result of its radio and TV origins, the scale is small and the sets repetitious, but the characters are well drawn, and give dialogue that doesn't feel cliched. The starting premise (what if the signal in Contact was sent by nefarious aliens?) is fascinating and promises so much potential. The potential never pays off - the novel doesn't even have ...more
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eneya Vorodecky
I have been recommended many times this book.
However I am deeply disappointed by it.
Oh, yes, the idea is interesting and quite good.
But I hate how lazy the writing ended. We had this insane buildup about humanity, life, intelligence and dominance... and then... yeah, conveniently kill of the loose end, because why not pull some random action out of nowhere. Yeah... quelle original.

I also disagree mightily on the idea of intelligence and that every intelligent from will try to destroy other intel
I found its Romanian translation at home, not knowing the background story and how it came to become a well known 60's S.F. tale. Fred Hoyle was a well known astronomer from Cambridge, enamored with the science fiction stories of his time. In this book - wrote after a BBC TV series partly lost now, the author brings forth some ideas well ahead of that time: computer programming, DNA, A.I., extraterrestrial contact. It all seems bland and simple today, but on those years, these ideas were still o ...more
Charles Harrison
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a strange one. Picked up because I had been recommended a book with Andromeda in the name and couldn't remember which one! Genre wise this was a bit of a curveball as it can't decide which it is; sci fi or cold war thriller. The cold war style politics make it a slow start as the scene is set and make it hard going but in the end the sci fi wins out with the last couple of chapters leaving some wonderful moral questions as well as an exciting conclusion. As always with a book of this ag ...more
The idea is fascinating and I was hooked by it even before I started reading. I am a slave to those mystery sci-fi plots and that is what kept me going thru the pages.

The writing leaves a lot to be desired though. The point of view is jumping from character to character or from place to place without any coherence or explanation. There is no peek inside the mind of the people nor the alien. Everything is happening so fast, as if the author is afraid readers will lose interest.

At the end I am l
Ian Duerden
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Suppose you wanted to inhabit another world but the cosmic distance rules out any possibility of crossing the immensity of space, in this case as far distant as a star in the constellation of Andromeda. In this book it is from there that a message is received, a message to intelligent minds, to build a machine. The second message is the programme. The outcome... The creation of a biological entity. Is it for good... or invasion by proxy. Hoyle as always is decades ahead of his times. The concept ...more
Mar 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: cf, novela
Interesante, sin impresionar. La historia de un código recibido de una lejana estrella que permite la construcción de una compleja computadora, la cual a su vez empieza a generar instrucciones para crear… algo. Algo que aprende, tiene una forma humana y puede encerrar más amenazas que promesas. A veces, hay que desconfiar de los regalos demasiados buenos para ser ciertos. Una variante en CF del caballo de Troya, en la cual sin embargo la herramienta misma puede descubrirse reacciones insospechad ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Макар и писана преди половин век, успява да поддържа напрежението и интереса и да не изглежда овехтяла откъм научната или техническата страна. Сполучлива е идеята с опита да бъдем завладени от чужд разум не чрез баналното му нашествие на Земята под различна форма, а чрез Троянски кон от ново поколение - мощен компютър и управлявано от него човешко същество, създадени по указания, разчетени в изпращани от Андромеда сигнали.
Oct 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Hoyle was the astronomer who coined the appellation 'Big Bang'as a way to depict the dynamic origin of the universe.
In this story there is a message received from the Andromeda Nebula that decodes to give us the instructions to build the machines to receive messages more clearly. These instructions are how to build the machines to synthesize a life. Then another human in appearance that comes to be called Andromeda for the origin of the message.
Feb 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Neat premise: a radio telescope picks up a signal from the stars, which turns out to be translatable as instructions for building a computer, as well as a program to run on it. The computer is, of course, an AI. Charming antiquated tech (punch cards!) and even some okay female characters (passes the Bechdel test).
David R.
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I last read this many, many years and even then that came decades after the book was released. It is a bit dated now (computer technology is many leaps more advanced) but the essential thrill of horror remains. It's amazing what can be done well with fewer than 200 pages!=
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
This classic Sci-Fi has a historical (1960s) perspective. Remember when Sci-Fi was about human struggle to improve our species and reach out into the vast beyond? Much of Sci-Fi today ma be about man's fellow-destruction. see: 'curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal'
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great concept, engagingly written - all the more intriguing for being written in 1962 with the dated but familiar mannerisms and emotional style befitting the time. The breadth of events is rather rushed through in the 174 pages but it is pretty gripping stuff all the same.
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Professor Sir Fred Hoyle was one of the most distinguished, creative, and controversial scientists of the twentieth century. He was a Fellow of St John’s College (1939-1972, Honorary Fellow 1973-2001), was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1957, held the Plumian Chair of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy (1958-1972), established the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy in Cambridge (now p ...more

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