The first half of the book was very interesting and seemed to have a good storyline going for it. However, the latter half of the story drifted quite a bit and to the point it was almost like reading a completely different book. I liked the first half - the second half left me scratching my head. I'm going to give the sequel a try because I think the story has a lot of potential if the beginning of the story is continued.
I had high hopes for Gregory Benford's In the Ocean of Night. I had enjoyed Artifact quite a bit and was hoping for more of the same. The overall problem with the book is that it starts well and then declines, slowly but surely, until the end. By the time Bigfoot shows up, things are really pretty bad. (I kid you not about Bigfoot.)
Books about the unknown are supposed to get more interesting, fascinating, and wondrous the further you get into them, not less.
This is the first book of a long saga, a saga I won't be following.
tani reviewed In the Ocean of Night (Galactic Center, Bk 1) on
It started out well as an interesting work of sci-fi, then there was a single page filled with a disgusting description of 3-way sex--which I got the impression was just put in so the publisher could rake in more readers (One of my pet peeves.). The book became increasingly hard to follow and boring, so I gave up on it.
not great, but i couldn't put it down!, March 8, 2005
Reviewer: Evan Lapann "synthetic life-form" (Boston MA)
I hate the term "page-turner" but this book was just that. Even though I was never particularly impressed with the book, I found that I constantly needed to know what was going to happen next.
The future painted in this world, is surprisingly believable considering the year the book was written. However, the world is not painted as clearly as in a Gibson book, so a lot of it is left to your imagination. Usually I HATE when authors write foggy, unrealised future speculations, but for some reason it didn't bother me in this book. You can tell that the state of earth in the future is only a secondary aspect of this book.
The prose are pretty good throughout the book. At times it seems like Benford is unnaturally pushing himself to be poetic, but in the end it winds up being a lot better than 90% of the sci-fi writing out there.
The plot, while incredibly gripping, had some serious pacing issues. It almost seems like the events in this book could have filled three equally long novels. Now that I've finished the book though, I've come to realise that this entire book is like the back story for the next ones to come. It kind of stands on its own, but I feel like I would be jipped if I didn't read the next ones in the series.
Despite my criticisms, and I realise I am a very picky sci-fi reader, this book was thoroughly entertaining and worth the read. It didn't change my life or anything, but I have a feeling that it is all going to pay off in the next books in the series.