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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  811 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
From the Nebula Award-winning author of "Timescape" comes a provocative adventure that blends compelling human drama with cutting-edge physics. When a brilliant young physicist's experiment goes awry, the ensuing explosion leaves behind a wonderful sphere made of nothing yet known to science--an object that opens a vista onto an entirely different universe.
365 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1993)
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Durante un experimento en el Laboratorio Nacional de Brookhaven, donde está situado un colisionador de iones pesados, se produce un fallo que da lugar a una extraña y atípica esfera del tamaño de una pelota de baloncesto. El experimento estaba a cargo de la investigadora Alicia Butterworth, y esta decide guardarse el secreto y llevarse la esfera a California. Poco a poco, Alicia y su equipo irán descubriendo el extraño comportamiento respecto a la física de la esfera.

‘Cosmo’ (Cosm, 1998), del es
Austin Bruce Hallock
Cosm is a really cool science-fictional idea (5 stars) grafted onto a mediocre love story (2 stars) and flavored with a dollop each of ethnic and gender diversity ("E" for effort), all set against a realistic backdrop of contemporary academic strife and scientific process (4 stars). This tale would have worked much better as a novelette, but strung out to novel length, it seemed to drag a bit. I'm averaging it out to an overall 3-star rating.
Bernabé Borrero
Considering I spent the whole day reading to finish this book, this review is probably far from being objective.
I did some research and apparently this book is not among the bests of the author, and partially I can understand why. It narrates the discovery of a weird object in an experiment, and how the discoverer tries to find out what on earth is it and how it works. It was interesting to see science fiction narrated from another point of view, making it more believable. The discoverer, a phys
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a fun science fiction novel; my favorite type--something of a detective story. A new object suddenly just "shows up" in a particle accelerator, and much of the story is taken up in trying to figure out exactly what it is. Lots of laboratory and academic politics are stirred in, for good measure. While the main character always seems to do the wrong thing, it turns out, retrospectively, to have been exactly the "right thing" to do. As the author is a physicist, the explanations come acros ...more
Sep 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
I like a good, hard sci-fi yarn, but there are limits!

Reams of dry, abstruse physics theory - though certainly lending an air of authenticity to the concept - does not an entertaining read make. Reading this novel felt more like attending a lecture than it did entertainment.

Similarly, the minutiae of day-to-day life of university research staff and the culture they inhabit is not of sufficient interest to warrant the level of detail gone into by the author (who apparently has a personal axe to g
Jul 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I grabbed a whole stack of books which my Dad was going to throw away. This was one of them. The science was interesting enough to make me curious to know how it ended, but the poor attempts at philosophy, religion, romance and even a lame "action" sequence that never went anywhere really made this a poor book. It was also a bit dated, being published in 1998. Oddly the story is set in 2005 - not sure why that would be. But some of the experiments done in the story, which I imagine were just the ...more
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book! The idea is great, an unknown sphere showing up in a lab experiment, great. However, the rest of the story is pathetic. Why this male author thought he
could tell the story from the point of view of a black woman scientist, I have no idea. He couldn't.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really, really wanted to like this book. The premise was interesting and new, and a few moments in the book were truly inspired. I suppose Benford wanted to tell the story of a sardonic young professor's personal growth over a backdrop of what was probably supposed to be a symbolic mysterious object.
The good parts couldn't outweigh the love story that never quite feels relevant, or the endless musings over race and gender that never seem to affect the plot as much as one would think they could
Robert Day
Left me feeling cheated. No aliens that I could see - just some hints. Then there's the way it all ended: far too suddenly. Did the author get bored? He could have written a hundred pages or so to tie it all up but instead quickly summarised it with two pages of newspaper headlines. Cheated.

There is more kitchen-sink drama than science fiction in this book. And not very realistic drama at that. Lack of detail about the protagonist's mind (a young(ish) woman), sketchy knowledge of the legal proce
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matt Maker
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this one a lot
Don Stedman
Loved it
This book has a provocative theme. What if scientists could create a new, baby universe in the lab? It starts off with a really grate look into the lives of high energy physicists. The long middle of the story is full of human drama, centered around the protagonist. She's an exquisite experimentalist, and also a big black woman. For some reason, this comes up over and over in her monologue, like it's all she thought of about herself. This reflects really poorly on Benford's ability to develop a ...more
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Otra reseña más rescatada del pasado entre los libros de 2004-2005.

Al igual que el anterior libro, estamos hablando de l futuro de pasado mañana (nada del año 5000, ni de extraterrestres o cosas así). De un fallo o experimento con resultados sorprendentes en un acelerador de partículas (uhm, esto podría acabar sirviendo como premonición al LHC).
Lo mejor del libro es la trama miserable de los tejemanejes de la universidad, de los becarios de laboratorio, los presupuestos para experimentos y en g
Brent Ecenbarger
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alikes
This is the second book I've tried based on its recommendation as a 'read alike' for an author I'm a big fan of. This time the author was Robert Heinlein, one of the most acclaimed authors in the science fiction genre. The experience was totally different than my first read alike, Telegraph Avenue. With that book I could see the comparisons to Nick Hornby's style but felt overall it wasn't nearly as good. Here, I didn't think the writing was at all similar to Heinlein, but overall I really enjoy ...more
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Set in the near future the book deals in depth with the world of high tech physics research. It is written form an insiders point of view, by someone (Benford) who actually undertakes research, so apart for the last few chapters is very believable. Initially rather slow the novels deals with the creation of a separate universe using the ring at Brookhaven. Slowly the researchers, and the heroine is an over-large non-photogenic black woman (against stereotypes in fact and in fiction) realize what ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Ugh! What can I say? I was between books and desperate. I grabbed it off the library shelf just because I had liked Benford's Timescape book. This book is not that book in any shape or form. This is a one idea book, that idea being what would happen if you could create a universe in the lab. It's a great idea, the execution is not so good. Also, the main character is a black woman and while it might be possible for a white man to flesh out such a character, Benford is not that white man. There a ...more
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
I really enjoyed the portrayal of scientists, research, and their interactions with those in power. In a sense, the SF is limited. It's near-future - actually something which might have happened by the year I read it. There is a not-yet-happened discovery. The discovery is fantastic in one sense, but in another sense it's just a way to watch cosmic evolution from afar. (That is, it's not new tech that will change lives as much as PCs & cell phones have.) So this isn't the book to read when y ...more
Nov 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
a good honest story about life as a real scientist that made me think: maybe I ought to do that, but it occupies a dull zone where a far-fetched & awesome premise/assumption is reigned in by too much realism to ever to get to anything very fantastic or exciting.
l'il weird that the white dude wrote about a black woman: sorta sweet, like my engineer dad's own enthusiasm about women in the sciences, but also definitely, totally fetishizing. Forward did this in Rocheworld, too. I can't tell if t
Dec 21, 2008 rated it liked it
I read this book because the librarian of one of the worlds largest collections of scifi and fantasy books said that it would be way better than anything by Orson Scott Card or Tad Williams. I guess it is in the eye of the beholder, but it took me a long time to get through it and I was not really impressed. Yes, the story is quite interesting and sounds quite probable to me (physics scifi), but it takes too long to develop for my taste. I still give it a three star rating as I like it very much ...more
Madison Bemis
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book, but was disappointed. It did get more interesting as I got farther into it, but the beginning was dry. The plot seemed intriguing, but half of the time I was questioning why this white male author was writing from a black woman's point of view (which came off as over-the-top stereotypical). The physics was what kept me reading, but even that at times got to be too much.
Mar 13, 2011 added it
The universe in a basketball: Why is our universe so eerily suitable for us? Does this prove the existence of a god(dess)? Or is this universe itself the work of a blind watchmaker? Perhaps there are many god(desse)s, each thinking themselves unique, but actually part of a process of natural selection in meta-time. Benford writes well, setting the excitement of physics at the edge in a real world of interesting characters. Atheists and believers alike will find their imagination stimulated.
Charles Harrison
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some seriously cool science in this one and a wonderful insight into the inner working of academia. An unusual take on science fiction, this read more as a thriller with science in it. Predictable in some places, silly in others all in all a good solid read with enough nerdyness to keep the scientists among us satisfied.
Jan 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a good storyline about an experiment that causes an accident. The accident results in a basketball sized black sphere that eventually looks in to a new forming universe. The results are very interesting as the debate over science vs God and creation causes many interesting twists in the storyline. I really enjoyed this very different book.
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Good writing, but too abstruse, so I can’t say I understood much of the science, but the characters and the story were interesting, at least. Alicia is a black woman physicist, who “creates” in the course of an experiment, a new universe, developing at a pace exponentially faster than our own -- giving her and her colleagues a glimpse of our own universe’s future.
May 21, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Soft Physics
Gregory Benford has done much better (notably with Timescapes). I found his attempt to construct a believable African-American female academic physicist to be very disappointing. I also found the story to be too clever.
Kevin Keller
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Broad view of the creation and extinction of a universe. In this case, the universe (cosm) is created by a character in the book by mistake as part of an experiment and the efforts to understand what is created and put it into perspective make for a very interesting read.
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Sometimes the characters is there only to move the plot or give an opportunity to clear up the science, but the main character is pretty well developed. She's got some interest outside her lab. The idea is interesting and the hard science is pretty good.
Norman Howe
I can't tell whether Benford wanted this book to be about the science or about science's relation to the rest of society.
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
This book was ok, but I felt it was pretty slow moving and much less interesting than other Benford books.
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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
More about Gregory Benford...

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