Read Brain Wave by Poul Anderson Free Online
Book Title: Brain Wave|
The author of the book: Poul Anderson
Edition: Ballantine Books
Date of issue: December 12th 1973
ISBN 13: 9780345236685
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 516 KB
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Loaded: 2181 times
Reader ratings: 4.5
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Prolific Grand Master Poul Anderson earned his place of honor within the hallowed halls of science fiction’s best and brightest. His work may not be as engagingly readable as Asimov, or as accessibly impactful as Clarke. He was never as politically-minded as Heinlein and his prose is not as slick and stylish as Vance or Zelazny. However, I would argue that his product is among the top in so many areas that his wide-ranging competencies, when married to his prodigious ability to spin the “big idea,” make his catalog a required staple for any serious examination of science fiction.
Brain Wave is the quintessence of big idea science fiction and Anderson explores it with the skill of a veteran spelunker navigating through a vast underground expanse. The Earth, having existed in a neural-dampening field since the cretaceous period, suddenly emerges resulting in a five fold increase in intelligence for every person (and animal) on the planet. Following this life-altering event singularity, society immediately begins to breakdown as the first step of a radical realignment.
**unskilled workers suddenly disenchanted with the monotony of their daily, yet essential jobs;
**professionals finding their money and status-centric occupations tiresome and unfulfilling;
**large portions of the “pre change” highly intelligent finding nothing but confused madness on the other side of the IQ boost;
**pigs, monkeys and other animals suddenly finding themselves questioning their place in humanity’s world and equipped with the capacity to do something about it; and
**regular joes and janes finding that heightened intelligence does not necessarily mean an end to prejudice, intolerance, fear and self-doubt.
This is a fascinating premise for a “what if” novel and Poul does an admirable job, to the extent he is allowed, to explore the effects on human society and how life reorganizes itself when the age-old hierarchies and social structures are shattered.
I “only” gave this 3 stars (really 3.5). This is not a reflection of the power or skill of Anderson’s novel. There is much of both within. It’s rather an acknowledgement of the shackles placed on Poul by his editors and the marketing gurus of the time, who required the book to fit within the slim 200 page format of SF stories of the time.
I believe this is a story begging to be allowed to breathe and develop and I think if Poul had been given the opportunity, this would be a 500 page, wide net examination of the many facets of what it means to be human. As it is, we are limited to following a handful of individuals: Peter Corinth, a brilliant (by pre-change standards) research physicist; Sheila Corinth, Peter’s wife; Felix Mandelbaum, a union official; and Archie Brock, a mentally handicapped individual.
Within the four individual stories we see the struggles faced by most of the world’s population as they come to terms with the extreme increase in intelligence. To Anderson’s credit, he uses the time he is allotted to tell a compelling story. The tales of both Sheila Corinth and Archie Brock are particularly moving.
It just could have been so much more.
In addition to the unfortunate lack of full idea development, I found the ending, while good, to be not quite as wowza as I would have liked. Still, this is a work that deserves to be read and I think is more than worth the ration of hours it will take to consume it. A lesser known, but quality work by one of the best.
3.5 stars. Recommended (highly).
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Read information about the authorPseudonym A. A. Craig, Michael Karageorge, Winston P. Sanders, P. A. Kingsley.
Poul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories. He received numerous awards for his writing, including seven Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards.
Anderson received a degree in physics from the University of Minnesota in 1948. He married Karen Kruse in 1953. They had one daughter, Astrid, who is married to science fiction author Greg Bear. Anderson was the sixth President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, taking office in 1972. He was a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America, a loose-knit group of Heroic Fantasy authors founded in the 1960s, some of whose works were anthologized in Lin Carter's Flashing Swords! anthologies. He was a founding member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Robert A. Heinlein dedicated his 1985 novel The Cat Who Walks Through Walls to Anderson and eight of the other members of the Citizens' Advisory Council on National Space Policy.
Poul Anderson died of cancer on July 31, 2001, after a month in the hospital. Several of his novels were published posthumously.
* Time Patrol
* Psychotechnic League
* Trygve Yamamura
* Harvest of Stars
* King of Ys
* Last Viking
* Future history of the Polesotechnic League
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