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Dark Universe

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  639 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
The survivors live underground, as far from the Original World as possible and protected from the ultimate evil, Radiation. Then terrible monsters, who bring with them a screaming silence, are seen and people start to disappear. One young man realises he must question the nature of Darkness itself.
Paperback, 154 pages
Published 2000 by Gollancz (first published 1961)
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The above rating graphic provides a pretty good assessment of my opinion of the story...which stands to reason in a "DUH, thank you Col. Obvious" sorta way since I created it. Well, at the risk of raining down obvious all over you, let me add that this is certainly a book on which I would recommend you take a pass. However, for those of you SF completist, gluttons for punishment or members of the "I think Steve may just be full of shit on this one" club, here is a brief summary of the plot in c
Bob Rust
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Long after a nuclear war, a Ruined Earth culture has evolved deep Underground, where the survivors' descendants live sightless in the pitch black. From daily routine through cosmological concerns, this culture is grippingly and originally conceived, though the book closes with a somewhat anticlimactic escape from darkness into a new age of "enlightenment".
Kate Sherrod
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fred Forbes
Oct 26, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was on a "5 best" recommended list by Richard Dawkins (author of the God Delusion) and when I read his brief description of a story of a world of people forced to live underground as a result of a nuclear holocaust it caught my interest. One aspect intrigued me specifically and that was the idea of someone living in total darkness and never having been exposed to light. As a teenager, I spent a lot of time spelunking and one of the treats was to reach the terminus of our exploration fo ...more
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book as a young adult in the 70s and the premise behind it stuck with me over the years. It came up in conversation many times, but I had forgotten the title and author. While on holiday in New York I sheltered from the rain one afternoon in NY Central Library, where I came across a thick tome about the development of SF and a little research paid off with the details about this book. This being the 21st century, online ordering meant that after a couple of clicks on Amazon and a wai ...more
Jim Mcclanahan
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written at the height of the cold war, this short novel explores the possibility of post-apocalyptic humans having survived a nuclear holocaust by living in an underground world in which light is totally absent and primitive sonar is the only means of discerning surroundings. Also populated by giant mutant bats, other humans who perceive their surroundings by other, mysterious means and the feared and misunderstood "monsters", this story does a fine job of creating a completely unfamiliar world ...more
Sean Brennan
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This is an absolute gem of a story, at a mere 180 pages it conveys more concepts and insights than a whole serious of stories by a lesser author! Organised Religion is especially highlighted as well as ignorance and lack of knowledge! Wonderful.
Storyline: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 5/5

I really liked this from the opening pages to the very end. It was one of those rare occasions where a book settled at the perfect length; anything longer, and it would have had to have been written very differently and anything shorter wouldn't have given an adequate impression. This one belongs in the "idea book" category, and it is the world that brings such a delightful read.

The story and characters seem to have been thrown in so that
Bart Hill
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great story about far-future survivors of the nuclear war living in the far depths below the Earth's surface. The way the characters have developed their own religious dogma and customs based on limited knowledge of their history is fascinating. I also liked the way the story got around the problem of conversing by saying things like "I hear" instead of "I see" since these survivors live in total darkness. The invention of click-stones to determine one's presence, their physical attrib ...more
Benjamin Straw
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The world building is fantastic, the ability to hear the face if some one makes me want to be blind! The story on the other hand is a bit slow, but not to slow(like to the point of falling asleep). Plot was great, I have never heard a book like it.
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amun (Mohamed Elbadwihi)
This is an amazing book; one of my favorites. Such a wonderful story.

Some bits:
...and some remote recess of his mind dredged up memories of childhood teachings:

What is Light?
Light is a Spirit.
Where is Light?
If it weren't for the evil in man, Light would be everywhere.
Can we feel or hear Light?
No, but in the hereafter we shall all see Him.

Rubbish! Anyway, no one could explain the word see. What did you do to the Almighty when you seed Him?


He was feeling an object dangling from the upthrust
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Dark Universe has an intriguing premise poorly (or at least boringly) executed. It's about people who live in sealed, lightless caves after a nuclear apocalypse.

I wanted a story about how these people, over generations, have coped with life in the dark. There is some of that, but then there is psychics and way way way too much time spent on the protagonist trying to find Light (which has become a religious concept in this world). For a short book, it was too long. I had to push myself through it
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An post apocalyptic allegory of an allegory that uses Plato's cave to address the search and painful consequences of enlightenment. Not recommended for readers sensitive to heavy handed religious criticism.
Steve Walker
I read "Dark Universe" 30 years ago for a course in the Philosophy of Literature.
This is unique book, one in which the language used by the characters plays a role
in the telling of the story.
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant thought provoking book
Julia Jordan
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5 ⭐
Video Rezension
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Philip K. Dick
* Meinen Dank an den Manticore Verlag für das zur Verfügung gestellte Leseexemplar. *

In Dark Universe steht die Warnung vor der Atomaren Bedrohung eher zweitrangig da. Vielmehr thematisiert der Autor im Gewand eines SF Abenteuerromans zeitbezogene Probleme wie Religion, Sektentum und Ausgrenzung. Ganz unmittelbar geht es dem Autor jedoch einfach um das Gedankenspiel einer Menschheit die in absoluter Dunkelheit überleben muss. Die Überlebenden, denen Hauptcharakter Jared angehört haben hierfür (
John Wiltshire
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've always been fascinated by concepts such as, for example, imagining a new colour. Even if you could see it in your mind, could you describe it? This author takes on a similar, almost impossible challenge of writing about people who live in total darkness, and who have done so for long that they've lost the cultural memory of light. In fact, they've mythologised Light into a supreme being. In this underground world, men have developed bat-like radar which enables them to "see". Eyes being red ...more
Isabel (kittiwake)
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Todd Martin
Sep 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read Dark Universe at the recommendation of Richard Dawkins. He extolled the book as an example of “good science fiction”, by which he means fiction that has a strong scientific basis (as opposed to that ‘fantasy’ crap presumably). All of which points to the fact that, whatever Dawkins’ other talents as a biologist and science communicator, his judgement regarding science fiction is open for debate.

That’s not to say that Dark Universe is a bad book, the premise (which I can’t say anything abou
Hector Sanchez
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
While this book is not a classic of science fiction it sure poses us with some interesting questions of we would perceive reality if we were unable to see. This was specially interesting to me because having heard of the case of a man who "recovered" () from blindness through medical procedures his understanding of the world struck some vague parallelism with the experiences described by the main character of the book.

As a novel probably this is not a fantastic literature work but if you liked
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantascienza
Un romanzo che non risente affatto del tempo che è passato dalla sua prima pubblicazione.
Ancora attuale, scritto bene, originale sia nell'impianto narrativo sia nelle invenzioni che sorreggono la trama.
Le uniche note negative, forse, sono lo "spiegone" finale, senza il quale il romanzo non perdeva nulla della sua efficacia, ed il fatto che il protagonista sviene un capitolo si e l'altro no. Quest'ultimo è un escamotage che finisce per essere prevedibile e quindi fiaccare il ritmo narrativo.
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've always been drawn to books that start with the premise "What if...". This book is no exception. Galouye displayed in Dark Universe a typical pulp lack of character development; however, this is belied by a Platonian "shadow people" thematic. Other reviews I've seen since reading the book often contain "spoilers" and I'm truly glad that I didn't read them first. It would have taken away some of the mystery if I had understood more of where the book was leading. A thoroughly enjoyable and fai ...more
Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting premise but by the end I was left unsatisfied and filled with question like, if they had the technology to amplify sounds using a machine, why had no one ever taken some of the rocks and plant material durable enough to make clothing out of and start a fire. It's the little things like that which completely ruin the immersion process.

Still, I stuck with it to see how it turned out and while I don't wish for the few hours of my life back that I spent reading this novel, I highly doub
Dec 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: science, fiction
I had assumed this would never re-emerge so did not expect to ever read this. Dan Galouye wrote about different perceptions of the world and how those perceptions changed the nature of the world. Perceptions and conceptions were big in the sixties and seventies. but I thought his novels had died with the zeitgeist It seems I was wrong.[return][return]Into a world of darkness comes a new phenomena "silent sound" How will people cope with it.
Aug 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
I decided to read this because I heard a podcast interview with Richard Dawkins, in which he says this is one of his five favorite books. I had never heard of it before - but it is good. A civilization which lives underground darkness, where there is no sight but people hear the reflections off walls and the faces of people. The world-building is excellent and the plot is chilling.

The main flaw with the writing is that the wording gets repetitive.
Dec 24, 2013 rated it liked it

178 pages
Hugo Award Nominee

A post-apocalyptic world, where people have survived in caves. They have retained bits of human history as myths and legends. They have evolved to use their ears instead of their eyes because of the darkness in the caves. Other human survivors have found their colonies and want to bring them out of the caves and into the light and life on earth again.
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  • Davy
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Daniel Francis Galouye (11 February 1920, New Orleans, Louisiana – 7 September 1976, New Orleans, Louisiana) was an American science fiction writer. During the 1950s and 1960s, he contributed novelettes and short stories to various digest size science fiction magazines, sometimes writing under the pseudonym Louis G. Daniels.

After Galouye (pronounced Gah-lou-ey) graduated from Louisiana State Unive
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