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The Forge of God

(Forge of God #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  13,797 ratings  ·  531 reviews
On July 26th, Arthur Gordon learns that Europa, the sixth moon of Jupiter, has disappeared. Not hiding, not turned black, but gone.

On September 28th, Edward Shaw finds an error in the geological records of Death Valley. A cinder cone was left off the map. Could it be new? Or, stranger yet, could it be artificial? The answer may be lying beside it—a dying Guest who brings
Kindle Edition, 474 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by (first published 1987)
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Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Greg Bear is one of the more popular science fiction authors that I have been neglecting. I have only read his best-known book Eon prior to this one. Perhaps that is just as well as I have quite a few more to look forward to. I like sci-fi books set in “the present day” (in this case 1996), they tend to be immediately relatable. They also tend to be about First Contact, the meeting of mankind and extraterrestrials.

"“Do you have a name?” the President asked.
“Not in your language. My name is che
All I kept thinking while reading this was that it felt like an Arthur C Clarke story. You know, complicated science, great concept, crappy two-dimensional characters. I didn't like or dislike one character. They were there only to showcase the idea and the science.

Geologists happen across a large "rock" structure in Death Valley that wasn't there before. While investigating, they discover an alien. It can speak English (having learned it from our radio waves in space) and it says it is a hitch
With its pacing and readability, The Forge of God reminded me of a Michael Crichton novel - the kind of science fiction story where scientific plausibility reigns and the narrative structure keeps you reading. This is a good novel. I enjoyed the heck out of it. Reading this book, however, incited musings on the various incarnations of science fiction, its characteristics and purposes. Musings follow.

The Forge of God was recommended to me by the kind of reader who dismisses Ray Bradbury and Phill
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Excellent, gripping story.

Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1988)
Nominee: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1988)
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1988)
Chris Westin
Dec 31, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I was really disappointed by this. I had picked it up because I had really liked other Greg Bear novels: "Eon," "Eternity," and "Legacy." So I was expecting something fantastical on the same scale as those are.

Instead, it was a dull romp through 1980s paranoid Earth. Pages and pages of the government trying to keep extraterrestrial contacts secret from the populace.

There was one very annoying literary device used throughout. The novel is told from a 3rd person omniscient viewpoint. And every tim
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The difference between a 4 star book and a 5 star book is vast, definitely more than the span of one star. Bear.......bears comparisons with Stephen King in his ability to draw huge inferences in character from descriptive narrative passages, the actions of his characters, and interior and exterior dialogs, as well as relationships between characters. For this reader, they share a knack for initiating caring about what's happening to the characters and the magical gift of crafting a new world th ...more
Dave Peterschmidt
Jul 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Having read and enjoyed several other Bear books, I had high hopes for this one. Sadly, Forge of God is perhaps the only book I've ever read that has literally nothing to redeem it. I cannot figure out why Bear bothered to write this story. It seemed to have nothing to say, no commentary to impart, and no excitement to bring, while at the same time depicting a human race that, faced with ultimate destruction, fails to attempt even the smallest action in their own defense. Humanity is depicted as ...more
Mar 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Not one of Greg Bear's finest, I would say. Although the last third does try to make up for the plodding two thirds.

Like most sci-fi written in the past talking about "the future" that is now our past, it has a few stumbling blocks where he didn't get it quite right. Forge of God was written in 1986, the cold war was still on with no end in sight, computers were just starting to reveal their usefulness as personal computing platforms and modern data storage techniques were coming to light.
Jan 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010, sf-f
A really great concept marred by heavy-handed yet poorly detailed plotting. For a world-wide crisis, one gets only momentary high-level glimpses of how most of the world is taking it; the conceptualization of politics and diplomacy (and government) is pretty simplistic, and for all the talk of characters' intelligence, none of them seem that bright (which may actually be the point.) The most distracting thing for me was noticing how, no matter how often they were referred to as intelligent and c ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The end of the world is coming, so let’s hide under a sheet. With eyeholes cut out.” (pp. 264-265).

Alien space ships land in the US and Australia. The group of aliens landing in Australia say all is wonderful and we have super-duper technology to share, while the alien landing in the US says that the other aliens plan to destroy our planet in less than one year: “The death of a world is judgment of its inadequacy. Death removes the unnecessary and the false." (p. 89).

How do you make sense of
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hard sf fans
Ive read many post-apocalyptic stories, but this is the first pre-apocalyptic book Ive encountered! And Bear does a very good job.
Written in 1987 and set in the mid 90s, a strange object appears in the American desert resembling a volcano cone, and next to it is found a strange dying alien, The alien speaks English and has a message for Earth: "I'm afraid I have bad news".
Later a second cone is found in Australia but this time mechanical beings, robots, appear around it and they appear benevolen
Sara Reeves
Its not clear to me why this book won so many awards. Its a pretty generic science fiction story with the added bonus of all sorts of premise holes. (view spoiler) ...more
Paul E. Morph
While I was reading this book, I couldn't escape the feeling that I should've been enjoying it more than I was.

I loved the premise, I loved the set-up; it's exactly the sort of thing I'd normally eat up with a huge grin on my face... BUT...

There was something about it that left me entirely un-gripped for huge swathes of the book. I'm not even entirely sure what... maybe the writing style? Perhaps it was that I didn't particularly like the characters? Perhaps the fact that humanity was so blatant
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read for the Apocalypse 2019 Reading Challenge.

Method of the world's destruction: Unknown aliens using a combination of self-replicating nuclear explosions to shatter the Earth's crust at the tectonic faults, while superdense compressed matter and anti-matter come together at the Earth's core to disintegrate the planet. (Sorry if that's a spoiler, but it's got to be the absolutely coolest apocalypse I've ever read.)

My partner Jamie has been recommending this book to me for literally years. I wan
Storyline: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 3/5
World: 3/5

I must confess that I have a (perhaps indefensible) fascination with stories like this. I loved the initial setup, the wonder and anticipation instilled early on. So too did I cling to the anxiety in waiting for those initial seeds to come to fruition. The ending was everything I dared hope for - more, actually, than I had come to hope for. The late 1980s produced a lot of this type of book, and some of my delight in this story probably de
Benjamin Kahn
Mar 23, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shane Moore
In short, this book is a boring apocalypse.

I wish that I had read this book 15 years ago. Back then I had lower standards. It does a good job of presenting some compelling scientific ideas, like self-replicating space probes and the concept that the earth can be thought of as an organism which will might eventually be spread by humans acting as a sort of seed or spore. Another point in its favor is that this book is at least as scientifically plausible as any other Science-Fiction I've read in t
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
It's been a while since I last read a book by Bear. I still remember enjoying Darwin's Radio and Eon when I read them years ago. (Bears is one of the writers who made me hooked on science fiction.) Thus, I'm glad when I start reading his works again I picked a novel that I found equally exciting. In this book, Bear kept his narrative focused in spite of the global setting. Alien invasion is often - in my reading experience at least - expounded at the expense of the characters. I'm glad Bear gave ...more
Allan Fisher
Nov 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-sci-fi
One of the best Hard Sci-Fi books I have had the pleasure of reading. Strong on ideas, possibly at the expense of characterisation, although this never deterred me. This was read in the Eighties...

After a second read twenty five years later the story was a lot different to what my memory thought it was. However that said it is still great and apart from a touch of editing here and there still one of my favourite sci-fi books.

For some strange reason I always remember a dying alien in a spacecraf
Aydin Turgay
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagine if someone rewrote the first twenty pages of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (without the humour), but expanded it to an epic, hard sci-fi story with multiple characters, similar in tone and scale to Stephen King's The Stand, while written in the techno-thriller style and pace of Michael Chrichton.

I'm not a big sci-fi reader, but I'm really interested to read more of Greg Bear.
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Well worth your time! It's not often that a SciFi written in the 80's and set in the 90's is still approachable and believable now but this book pulled it off. One of the best end of the world/first contact stories you'll read and full of characters you'll care about.
Dave Packard
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, laser
Interesting first contact book - but maybe not a book to read during a world ending virus outbreak! Greg has an interesting imagination as to what extra-terrestrials may be like, and how our interactions with them might occur.
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was disappointed in this book. It plodded along, had great science fact, mediocre story, you knew what the end was going to be near the beginning.

The aliens were lame, the “we are good, lets kill you” type

Too many useless characters too.
Jun 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greg Bear, Greg Bear Greg Bear.... Each time I begin reading a Greg Bear story I find myself asking why. Bear's writing style is more than a touch ponderous. It is not bad just predictable. Setting. Character. Plot. Next chapter and away we go again.

I know why this story is written this way. Bear is an idea guy. He is a hard science fiction writer, they are all about the idea. Bear has tons of ideas that he wanted to put into this book. To keep one character from being the mouth piece of these
Jan 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fermites
I've mentioned in my review of Stephen Baxter's Manifold: Time that I really enjoy the Fermi paradox and its potential solutions. The Forge of God explores one potential solution and also dovetails nicely with Stephen Hawking's recent warning not to talk to aliens , although it doesn’t really add anything new to the concept.

The Amazon description here suffices: "The disappearance of one of Jupiter's moons, the appearance of "little green men" in Australia and the American Southwest, and the sud
Patrick Gibson
In 1996, Jupiter’s sixth moon Europa suddenly vanishes. The media plays the disappearing act for a few weeks, but as usual fades from their blip screen as they believe the public is apathetic towards some obscure moon. Scientists come up with numerous theories, but no one knows what really happened. Most astronomers remain astounded that a relatively large object can go missing.

In Death Valley, three Texas geologists find what seems as the first error of US Geological Survey charts they have ev
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another "golden oldie" of the SF genre, and part of my quest to read all past Hugo winners. This was a disappointment. Touted as "literary SF", my expectations were high. Unfortunately, those who made such statements must spend more time with science fiction than with literature. The author's prose is flat and dull, with only a few sentences here and there that shne. The characters are well developed (to a painful degree), but in a spoon-feeding manner, which I can't stand. Furthermore, thought ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: correct page count ISBN 9780812524338 2 14 Feb 01, 2018 04:49AM  

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Greg Bear is one of the world's leading hard SF authors. He sold his first short story, at the age of fifteen, to Robert Lowndes's Famous Science Fiction.

A full-time writer, he lives in Washington State with his family. He is married to Astrid Anderson Bear. He is the son-in-law of Poul Anderson. They are the parents of two children, Erik and Alexandra.

Other books in the series

Forge of God (2 books)
  • Anvil of Stars (Forge of God, #2)

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