Ossus Library Index
Science Fiction Index


A novel by Greg Bear
(1987, Open Road Media)

The Forge of God, book 1

When an alien doomsday device penetrates Earth’s core, scientists search for clues to its nature, while humanity feels its helplessness, and another alien race tries to save as many humans as possible.


-- First reading (ebook)
August 27th to September 4th, 2020


A very different look at the way the world could end. With an alien threat way beyond our ability to fight, the world seems to give in, but the author doesn’t focus on that much. With the President’s defeatist attitude, it’s no wonder some Americans try something technically illegal, but I’m surprised that international partners don’t try to make arks of their own. Still, it was nice to see the peaceful way the characters detailed here went out. The author doesn’t describe riots or saboteurs, but thinking people resigned to their fate, and it’s quite beautiful to see them enjoying their last minutes and hours, knowing they can’t run from their fate. The book is strangely about hope, and the desire to save human culture doesn’t have much focus, until the very end. I had inklings about Mars, but didn’t expect to see the results. I hope it all pans out.

Spoiler review:

Some of my favorite scenes took place at the end of the book, especially in Yosemite Park, once I got over the idea that everybody in the world wasn’t working on escape spaceships. The book is more realistic than my expectations. Strangely, the art and culture collectors were less interesting, which is contrary to what I would have thought.

I’m on the fence about the idea that the offending society needs to pay for its crimes. If they’ve moved on as a society, then they should pay retribution, but I don’t think their later generations should have to pay for the crimes of their ancestors. In other words, retribution, but not revenge. Payment, but not in lives, I suppose. I guess we’ll see what happens in the sequel.

The main character started out interesting, but as he became more and more impotent, he became less enjoyable. I liked the relationship he had with his colleague, who was dying, but they didn’t have much impact on the story. While the characters were along entirely for the ride, except for the general who blew up the nuke, this was more a story of discovery, rather than something they could have influenced. All this, of course, was due to the lack of initiative by the President, which was frustrating and depressing and disappointing.

Still, the book was well written, and the mystery was revealed slowly and with enough science and interest that I really enjoyed it.


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