Between the Strokes of Night by Charles Sheffield


English | ePUB | 643.55 KiB


Charles A. Sheffield (June 25, 1935 – November 2, 2002), was an English-born mathematician, physicist and science fiction author. He had been a President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and of the American Astronomical Society.


After the Nuclear Spasm in the 21st century, homo sapiens was extinct, save for a tiny remnant scattered in small, primitive space colonies.

At first Solar Humanity had only one goal: survival. But when the battle for existence was won, humankind began moving outward in slow, multi-generation space ships, and as then millennia passed, planet-based civilisations emerged in many star systems. In the year 27,698 A.D, to these new worlds come the Immortals, beings with strange ties to ancient Earth, who seem to live forever, who can travel light years in days – and who use their strange powers to control the existence of ordinary mortals. On the planet Pentecost, a small group sets out to find and challenge the Immortals.

But in the search they themselves are changed: as Immortals, they discover a new threat, not just to themselves, but to the galaxy itself.


Mike: Between The Strokes Of Night is worth the read simply for the scientifically sound means he develops for interstellar travel, very unique yet satisfying and comprehensive. I nearly put this book down in disgust over the silly beginning. Both the dialogue and the scenario were, to me, eye-rolling bad. (However, a global warming acolyte might say just the opposite.) Due to human impact, the world climate changes so much by 2010, causing biblical catastrophes that then result in an earth-destroying global nuclear war. A cute theory in 1985 when the book was published. The only humans left alive are in a few space colonies, built and organized by a billionaire visionary. The story then jumps 25,000 years into the future to focus on a select few individuals in one of the colony worlds established in new star systems, chosen to voyage to space and meet the “Immortals”, humans that travel the stars. Once the book gets to this part, it becomes a fascinating story. There are some really interesting twists and turns, just when you think you have it figured out. And that is the reason for taking away a few stars, I thought he could have spent more time on some of the challenges. Good read but could have been so much better. I would love to see Peter Hamilton take this and rewrite it – bet that would be a fine story.

Michael Smith: I’ve always heard good things about Sheffield’s hard-science novels, and I’ve tried several of them, . . . but, somehow, I just can’t get interested in them. The author’s style simply leaves me cold. This one appears to be about finding a way to expand into the far corners of our galaxy without violating the limitation imposed by the speed of light. But I’m not sure about that, really, because I only got about 40% of the way in and then gave up because so little was happening. I was also put off by the author’s apparent belief that nearly 30,000 years in the future, so little will have changed where people are concerned, both socially and culturally. Even given names are pretty much what you would find in a present-day phone book. Sheffield’s science may be reliable but his imagination leaves a good deal to be desired.


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