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Children of the Comet

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From the visionary author of The Genesis Quest, a "wildly imaginative" (Greg Bear) science fiction novel about a young man's struggle for survival on a comet made of ice. In Donald Moffitt's brilliant cosmic adventure, Torris, son of the Facemaker, knows only his small community at the base of the great Tree on a comet with almost no gravity or atmosphere. Torris's daily st From the visionary author of The Genesis Quest, a "wildly imaginative" (Greg Bear) science fiction novel about a young man's struggle for survival on a comet made of ice. In Donald Moffitt's brilliant cosmic adventure, Torris, son of the Facemaker, knows only his small community at the base of the great Tree on a comet with almost no gravity or atmosphere. Torris's daily struggle for survival includes harvesting frozen air to keep breathing, dodging flutterbeasts, and hunting meatbeasts for food. When the time comes to make his vision quest to the top of the Tree, Torris is completely unprepared for what he finds: a thieving and hostile fellow quester; Ning, a female hunter in search of food to save her family on a neighboring comet; and humans from a massive starship that has spent billions of years crossing the galaxy from Earth's solar system. Perfect for fans of Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, and Peter F. Hamilton, Children of the Comet is an enthralling space odyssey about a young man grappling with unexpected cultural differences and learning to adapt in the face of an uncertain and rapidly changing fantastical future.


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From the visionary author of The Genesis Quest, a "wildly imaginative" (Greg Bear) science fiction novel about a young man's struggle for survival on a comet made of ice. In Donald Moffitt's brilliant cosmic adventure, Torris, son of the Facemaker, knows only his small community at the base of the great Tree on a comet with almost no gravity or atmosphere. Torris's daily st From the visionary author of The Genesis Quest, a "wildly imaginative" (Greg Bear) science fiction novel about a young man's struggle for survival on a comet made of ice. In Donald Moffitt's brilliant cosmic adventure, Torris, son of the Facemaker, knows only his small community at the base of the great Tree on a comet with almost no gravity or atmosphere. Torris's daily struggle for survival includes harvesting frozen air to keep breathing, dodging flutterbeasts, and hunting meatbeasts for food. When the time comes to make his vision quest to the top of the Tree, Torris is completely unprepared for what he finds: a thieving and hostile fellow quester; Ning, a female hunter in search of food to save her family on a neighboring comet; and humans from a massive starship that has spent billions of years crossing the galaxy from Earth's solar system. Perfect for fans of Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, and Peter F. Hamilton, Children of the Comet is an enthralling space odyssey about a young man grappling with unexpected cultural differences and learning to adapt in the face of an uncertain and rapidly changing fantastical future.

30 review for Children of the Comet

  1. 5 out of 5

    Metaphorosis

    3 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews Humans left the crowded environs of Earth to travel at near-light speed to other galaxies. On arrival billions of external years later, some want to go back, though the journey itself poses problems. Back at Earth, a civilization has developed among gigantic comet-fed trees. I remember reading Donald Moffitt's The Jupiter Theft, back in the '70s, and his Genesis Quest books in the '80s. I liked the former, and thought the latter were okay. When I saw this latest book 3 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews Humans left the crowded environs of Earth to travel at near-light speed to other galaxies. On arrival billions of external years later, some want to go back, though the journey itself poses problems. Back at Earth, a civilization has developed among gigantic comet-fed trees. I remember reading Donald Moffitt's The Jupiter Theft, back in the '70s, and his Genesis Quest books in the '80s. I liked the former, and thought the latter were okay. When I saw this latest book, I thought it would be a nice chance to revisit an old author. Unfortunately, my opinion of the writing isn't greatly changed. Moffitt, who died last year, was one of the dying breed of hard-SF authors, who carefully thought through their concepts and aimed for a reasonable level of credibility. There's no faster-than-light travel here; while time dilation and genetic engineering allow one ship's captain to leave Earth, cross the universe, and come back, the trip takes billions of years. In Sol's Oort cloud, giant trees are based on a concept discussed in the 20th century. The science behind the book is, if not necessarily accurate, at least credible. Sadly, the story itself is less strong. Moffitt's characters aren't terribly interesting, and in places the plot seems to simply go through the motions - insurrection, political unrest, etc. pass by more as by-the-numbers waypoints in the plot than as interesting elements in themselves. While Moffitt clearly gets a kick out of accurately applying laws of physics, listening to his characters sit around and talk about them is less fun, and not entirely credible. Toward the end, we're treated to large and repetitive infodumps. Moffit is less rigorous about logistics and coincidence, with some key plot points relying on chance. When it comes to inter-system commerce toward the end of the book, he seemingly tosses science out the window. The story, while apparently first published this year, has a distinctly '70s feel to it. With one exception, the leaders are men; the women do the cooking. While the starship is quite large the cast of active characters is remarkably small - a bit like a TV show where for some reason a few people handle all the tasks. Since the book is published posthumously, there's not much to be done about it - read it as if it were a book from the last century, and you'll enjoy it more. There's not a lot to the story itself. In separate threads, we learn about the ecosystem of giant trees, and the humans coming back to the solar system. The threads eventually cross, of course. What's surprising is how uninteresting and low-key the meeting is. Once that's wrapped up, Moffitt suddenly throws in some complications that slightly complicate the story, but do nothing to make it more interesting. It all feels very distant. All in all, a moderately interesting throwback to the hard SF of the '70s. Not a bad read, but not something to go out of your way for.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cristina

    I was completely blown away by Children of the Comet. I'm not really into Sci-Fi in a classical sense, so I had pretty low expectations. Donald Moffitt did a wonderful job when it comes to world building and character development and so I was able to resonate with pretty much all the characters in the novel. I won't go into the synopsis, as the description is available on a variety of websites, ranging from NetGalley to Goodreads. All I want to say is that this is a well-written Sci-Fi novel that I was completely blown away by Children of the Comet. I'm not really into Sci-Fi in a classical sense, so I had pretty low expectations. Donald Moffitt did a wonderful job when it comes to world building and character development and so I was able to resonate with pretty much all the characters in the novel. I won't go into the synopsis, as the description is available on a variety of websites, ranging from NetGalley to Goodreads. All I want to say is that this is a well-written Sci-Fi novel that absolutely any Sci-Fi aficionado might enjoy. I myself appreciated the two main actions, set in two different time periods. My advice is to enjoy the book while it lasts, because it's absolutely beautiful. I even took a liking to all the space creatures that made an appearance in the book. I first found them a bit odd and thought they'd be practically impossible to picture in my head, but I quickly realized that that wasn't the case. 5 stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tamsien West (Babbling Books)

    Though I initially enjoyed this unusual take on the sci-fi genre it was not able to hold my attention, so I am regretfully marking it as did not finish. I loved the world on the comets, it was very unique, and if it had been the sole focus I might have been able to stick with the story the whole way through. Unfortunately for me the political element on the advanced space ship was just too different in style, I felt like I was reading two different books at once and the change of perspective was Though I initially enjoyed this unusual take on the sci-fi genre it was not able to hold my attention, so I am regretfully marking it as did not finish. I loved the world on the comets, it was very unique, and if it had been the sole focus I might have been able to stick with the story the whole way through. Unfortunately for me the political element on the advanced space ship was just too different in style, I felt like I was reading two different books at once and the change of perspective was disruptive.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jules

    4/5 Out there space means time. This book was a little treat for me in the sense that is a small collection of ideas that stir up another string of ideas of my own. The writer tries to pull out of his magic hat both a macrocosmic polico-social plot and a clash of microcosmic cultures, with a take at evolution and human condition. Sounds fancy, isn't it? Not really. Concerning the first part, I liked the sci-fi idea of light speed traveling while breaking the time rules: great distance exchanged fo 4/5 Out there space means time. This book was a little treat for me in the sense that is a small collection of ideas that stir up another string of ideas of my own. The writer tries to pull out of his magic hat both a macrocosmic polico-social plot and a clash of microcosmic cultures, with a take at evolution and human condition. Sounds fancy, isn't it? Not really. Concerning the first part, I liked the sci-fi idea of light speed traveling while breaking the time rules: great distance exchanged for great time past outside the ship. The rest of it was just a filling plot that contained the author's prospective and scientific ideas. It felt like imitating the Foundation. Characters with conflicted personality, rather thin conflict that was abandoned abruptly and a lot of plot holes. The last part I'm inclined to forgive; there are always plot holes when working on such scale, I think about the Dune series. Speaking about Herbert's novels, is Children of the comet a reference to Children of the Dune? As for the second take of the book, the microcosmic cultural conflict of two tribes, I enjoyed that more. There was a retrospective sort of perspective on human's condition, social conventions, traditions, woman's place in society, mysticism and so on. A panoply of small ideas that are there to be savored and well as a bundle of bothersome petty things. About the later I could mention the lack of imagination regarding some of the fauna of the comets: "meatbeast","flutterbeast", "treehoppers", "firebelly". When those two perspectives begin to clash in the end of the book, I had the vision of the traveling human kind trying to take the role of the demigod and control not only their destiny but other's too, not realizing yet how out of control that is. Behind that the interaction between the modern and the primitive cultures as well as the human future was fairly poorly addressed. Although there were some inconsistencies and felt more of the fantasy side rather than sci-fi, it did fueled my imagination with a lot of interesting ideas and I did enjoyed the book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Koeur

    https://koeur.wordpress.com/2015/06/2... Publisher: Open Road Publishing Date: October 2015 ISBN: 9781497678460 Genre: SciFi Rating: 3.2/5 Publisher Description:In this brand-new cosmic adventure by the author of The Genesis Quest and The Jupiter Theft, Torris, son of the Facemaker, knows only his small community at the base of the great Tree on a comet with almost no gravity or atmosphere. Torris’s daily struggle for survival includes harvesting frozen air to keep breathing, dodging flutterbeasts, an https://koeur.wordpress.com/2015/06/2... Publisher: Open Road Publishing Date: October 2015 ISBN: 9781497678460 Genre: SciFi Rating: 3.2/5 Publisher Description:In this brand-new cosmic adventure by the author of The Genesis Quest and The Jupiter Theft, Torris, son of the Facemaker, knows only his small community at the base of the great Tree on a comet with almost no gravity or atmosphere. Torris’s daily struggle for survival includes harvesting frozen air to keep breathing, dodging flutterbeasts, and hunting meatbeasts for food. Review: Torris’ saga was at once thought provoking and entertaining. The parallel story line of the ship, Times Beginning and its crew was a little too patterned and smug. The idea that Earths descendants want to come back after 6 billion years (spent mostly traveling) is kind of weak. What failed was the characterizations of its crew. For example, there is spunky, smart as a whip, Nina!. Cranky, good natured and caring, Captain Joorn! Asian side-kick and expert scientist, Chu! etc. etc. Besides the contrived dialogue there just wasn’t a deep connection to scifi as expected. The novel moved from the comet trees into kind of a dorky space opera when Torris meets his galactic ancestors and soon learns to speak their language as well as speak dolphinese (don’t ask). These interactions come off as contrived and not too realistic. In my opinion there was definitely some “borrowing of ideas” from Larry Niven’s “Integral Trees” (1984) novel. Two warring tribes on separate trees. Check. Near weightless environment. Check. Massive life supporting trees with resident adapted flora and fauna. Check. Spaceship saves tribe. Check. Happily integrated Tribes after saving. Check.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fabi

    It was an exhausting but fantastic read. The scientific theories that produced the plot's time-travel theme were fascinating. My favorite part of the book is when the two forms of humans meet. One form has been traveling in what amounts to a time capsule and is therefore unchanged from our current physical form. The other form has evolved through living in an almost gravity free, airless and heatless environment. But they haven't evolved so far as to not be recognisably human. They have, however, It was an exhausting but fantastic read. The scientific theories that produced the plot's time-travel theme were fascinating. My favorite part of the book is when the two forms of humans meet. One form has been traveling in what amounts to a time capsule and is therefore unchanged from our current physical form. The other form has evolved through living in an almost gravity free, airless and heatless environment. But they haven't evolved so far as to not be recognisably human. They have, however, devolved into a primitive society with basic hand made tools and driving superstitions. There is a third lifeform that is slowly revealed as the plot progresses. I can't say much about it because it would be spoilery, but I was transfixed by it. I felt like there could have been a little more character development because I didn't feel particularly invested in any single character, but the story as a whole works. It works in combining science and politics and human nature into a fantastical tale of the far future. ---Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Children of the Comet by Donald Moffit is a highly recommended science fiction story set six billion years in the future. This novel covers two different sets of human until they meet. The first group has been colonizing a tree growing on a comet in the The Oort Cloud and is now a primitive society who have adapted to life on their tree/comet. Torris is a young man who must climb the Great Tree on his dream/vision quest. The second set of humans is on a space ship colonizing the solar system after Children of the Comet by Donald Moffit is a highly recommended science fiction story set six billion years in the future. This novel covers two different sets of human until they meet. The first group has been colonizing a tree growing on a comet in the The Oort Cloud and is now a primitive society who have adapted to life on their tree/comet. Torris is a young man who must climb the Great Tree on his dream/vision quest. The second set of humans is on a space ship colonizing the solar system after beings known as the First Ones forced the human race to leave the Milky Way. Humans have developed the Higgs boso drive, though, so they are able to travel near light speed. The ship Time's Beginning was launched from the USA and after seeding several colonies there are two factions that want to control the ship. One wants to go back to Earth's solar system and settle near it while the other wants to head for the end of the universe. The opening quote explains growing trees on comets: "How high can a tree on a comet grow? The answer is surprising. On any celestial body whose diameter is of the order of ten miles or less, the force of gravity is so weak that a tree can grow infinitely high. Ordinary wood is strong enough to lift its own weight to an arbitrary distance from the center of gravity. This means that from a comet of ten-mile diameter, trees can grow out for hundreds of miles, collecting the energy of sunlight from an area thousands of times as large as the area of the comet itself. Countless millions of comets are out there, amply supplied with water, carbon, and nitrogen - the basic constituents of living cells. They lack only two essential requirements for human settlement, namely warmth and air. And now biological engineering will come to our rescue. We shall learn how to grow trees on comets. - Freeman Dyson" I enjoyed Children of the Comet. Donald Moffit (1931- 2014) wrote two of my favorite science fiction novels and so I am predisposed to enjoy this, his final novel. While I can see that Children of the Comet needed some more work (and kept reminding me of Niven's The Integral Trees), I did find it an interesting premise and a satisfying story. The comet/tree civilization is far more intriguing than the spaceship crew and their politics so I did wish that more time was spent with them. There are also a few characters that are added in the middle of the book that should have been present right at the start, which is another clue that the novel was a work in progress. Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Open Road Intergrated Media for review purposes.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lis Carey

    The story opens with Torris, a young man of a Neolithic-level tribe living in a giant tree on a comet in the Oort Cloud, about to undergo his tribe's rite of passage. I didn't initially find this encouraging; how many previous books have I read featuring humans in the far future reverted to primitivism in unlikely settings? It was well done, however, and I kept reading. And that was a good thing, as I discovered the starship Time's Beginning, in orbit around a planet named Rebirth, in a distant g The story opens with Torris, a young man of a Neolithic-level tribe living in a giant tree on a comet in the Oort Cloud, about to undergo his tribe's rite of passage. I didn't initially find this encouraging; how many previous books have I read featuring humans in the far future reverted to primitivism in unlikely settings? It was well done, however, and I kept reading. And that was a good thing, as I discovered the starship Time's Beginning, in orbit around a planet named Rebirth, in a distant galaxy. Joorn Gant, captain of Time's Beginning, and his friend Delbert Karn, the ship's leading astrophysicist, have dramatically different views of what Time's Beginning should do, once this latest human colony is firmly established. Two of the oldest members of the crew, among a dwindling number born on Earth before departure, Gant wants to lead the Homegoing faction back to Earth, where Sol, now a red giant, will be shrinking again, with Earth emerging from its photosphere, while Karn wants to lead his even smaller faction of hardcore astrophysicists on an expedition to the edge of the universe, where the earliest galaxies formed--the original intent of the ship's name, before this became an expedition to seed human colonies as widely as possible, to ensure the survival of the species. The colonists would prefer neither of these expeditions to happen; they want to keep the ship and dismantle it for its resources, including its remaining habitats, which increase the survival odds of the new colony by providing additional secure living spaces while they terraform. The colonists don't prevail. Gant and Karn reach a bargain, to take the ship back to Earth, and leave the Homegoers with some of the habitats, while the scientists take the ship and the remaining habitats off on their voyage of scientific discovery. It's not that simple, of course, and the conflicts of competing interests reaches to the Sol system, and encompasses even the comet dwellers and their trees. There's also the conflict between Torris's tribe and the tribe on their nearest cometary neighbor, currently approaching close enough that bride raids are imminent. Both the ship culture and the cometary culture are interesting, and the characters are interesting and worth getting to know. There's also a solid plot that keeps moving. A completely enjoyable light read. Recommended. I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Milliebot

    I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own. Torris is part of a small community that lives at the base of a huge tree on a comet floating through space. He must journey up the tree on a quest to receive a vision and become a man, and it’s there he meets a female, Ning, from a neighboring tree. She is hunting for food to save her family and Torris is sho I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own. Torris is part of a small community that lives at the base of a huge tree on a comet floating through space. He must journey up the tree on a quest to receive a vision and become a man, and it’s there he meets a female, Ning, from a neighboring tree. She is hunting for food to save her family and Torris is shocked by the differences in their two cultures. After a scandal involving Ning, Torris ends up on a spaceship that has suddenly come into their orbit and must adapt to his rapidly changing future. This book was just alright for me. I was pretty interested in Torris and his clan of comet-dwelling tree people and it reminded me a bit of Dark Eden (which I loved). They had an interesting culture and I also liked hearing about the wildlife that lived on the tree and in nearby space. I mean, there are creepy space-bat type things...which is pretty cool. But then, there was a second plot involving people on a spaceship, trying to colonize, or rather, recolonize, our old solar system, and I couldn't have been more bored. I didn't really connect with the characters or their mission and there was so much science and space jargon that I couldn't even follow most of what they're discussing. I'll believe whatever you want me to believe about space life and space travel - as a reader, I don't need pages upon pages of facts (or what sounds like facts) and the science behind how this is done. It's just not what I'm looking for. At one point they were holding a seminar and it was just all info-dumping regarding how life evolved in space, and probably a lot of other stuff that I didn't pick up because I didn't really read that section. The two story lines do eventually converge, but by that point, I was too bored to really care. The story strayed so much from what I was really interested in, which was the people of the comet and how they lead their lives, that I wasn't invested anymore. I didn't look into whether this is part of a series, but it doesn't matter because even if it was, I wouldn't continue. Mostly it just made me want to read Dark Eden all over again. If you're into hard sci-fi that's heavy with science and slow on plot, you might enjoy this book, but it wasn't for me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John Purvis

    “Children of the Comet” eBook was published 2015 and was written by Donald Moffitt (http://www.donaldmoffitt.com/). Mr. Moffitt has written more than 20 novels. I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains some scenes of Violence. This Science Fiction novel is set in a far future. Earth has been consumed by an expanding sun. Humanity has spread throughout the universe. Some of those who left to spread humanity “Children of the Comet” eBook was published 2015 and was written by Donald Moffitt (http://www.donaldmoffitt.com/). Mr. Moffitt has written more than 20 novels. I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains some scenes of Violence. This Science Fiction novel is set in a far future. Earth has been consumed by an expanding sun. Humanity has spread throughout the universe. Some of those who left to spread humanity through out the stars are coming home to the Solar System to see what is left. But their journey is not without their own internal squabbles. Torris is one of the evolved humans living on a comet. His way of life surrounds a giant tree growing from the comet. His is but one of thousands, perhaps millions of micro societies that have evolved. Torris encounters a female from another comet tree. They are enemies, but soon bond in friendship. When those Torris lives with find the the has friended an enemy, he is expelled from the comet. Luckily for him, he is found by one of the returning starships. This begins a story of closing cultures and the comet people taking a step towards civilization that they left far behind. This 332 page novel was a little odd. It was an interesting 5.5 hour read. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5. Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at http://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chet

    A highly entertaining and imaginative book, not just about what it would be like to live on a massive tree on a comet, but also consequences of the hard science of near speed-of-light space travel.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Powers

    Book Review by: Sharon Powers. If you would like to see this review with all the images as indicated in the text, you can see them at http://sharonsloveofbooks.blogspot.com/ ___________________________________________ CHILDREN OF THE COMET I hung on every word he spoke. Suddenly, so suddenly I hardly realized it, maybe like being unable to sleep and suddenly you find it is morning and you open your surprised eyes to greet the day. Maybe like working on your computer for a little while drafting a fe Book Review by: Sharon Powers. If you would like to see this review with all the images as indicated in the text, you can see them at http://sharonsloveofbooks.blogspot.com/ ___________________________________________ CHILDREN OF THE COMET I hung on every word he spoke. Suddenly, so suddenly I hardly realized it, maybe like being unable to sleep and suddenly you find it is morning and you open your surprised eyes to greet the day. Maybe like working on your computer for a little while drafting a few e-mails, or letters, or...whatever, look up and suddenly discover three hours have past, and you never knew it. I almost felt like I was sitting by a campfire listening to someone telling a story about some legend or myth in the local area. But "his" words, they bore into me, until it seemed to me like I was awake; really awake. [4] Yet the the stories he spoke were little stories from various parts of the world, from every culture and era. As the words fell onto my ears, they bored into me, worming their way into my heart, and warming my very being. The "Truth Speaker" was Joseph Campbell speaking about his book, the The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers on public television--about myth and the hero's journey. [2] As Joseph Campbell puts it in the televised show, I was caught by them (these stories and words). [3] It was after reading Donald Moffitt's book, Children of the Comet, that Joseph Campbell came to mind, again. I thought about rites of initiation, The Tree of Life, and the hero beginning their hero's journey by being thrust out of their little place of security into an unknown world. Let me share with you why Donald Moffitt's book resonates with me just as Joseph Campbell's stories did. Before we discuss more, here is a short synopsis of Moffitt's book: Here is a gigantic tree in space; although, this tree doesn't look exactly like the one described in Moffitt's story, it is a tree in space. In the story the tree attaches itself to an ice comet and because of little gravity and the orbitational pull of the comet, the tree grows to an astronomical height. The tree is life for the people of Torris's tribe: their food, wood for implements, and even spiritual awakening for their young men in their initiation into manhood. It is their tree of life. [5] SHORT BOOK SYNOPSIS: As a large comet flies its ordained orbit; on it, a gigantic tree of immense proportions, adapting to life on the comet, grasps the ice, sending its roots down into the frozen orb. A small tribe of people live on this remarkable "world." Life, a daily rugged and hard-fought existence, is made bearable through the tribe's ingenuity and difficult labor. Torris, one of the tribe's young men, will soon be ready for initiation into manhood--to become a man, he must climb the monumental tree and have a "vision dream" given to him by the tree, then make the long climb back down to the comet's surface. Torris will then present his dream to the priest. Daily life for Torris and his family means a life of very little gravity, frozen air that must be harvested, thawed and captured in a pouch, for later use. All must wear a kind of homemade space suit, stitched and glued together to hold the breathable air. Hunting, also must be done; though in Torris's world it is hunting in the branches of the tree. All hunters must take care, or the prey they hunt could turn the tables on them and quickly the hunter could become the meal. Just like this artful rendition of Jack-in-the Beanstalk, Torris and Ning climb towards the top, all the while facing many dangers. Perhaps those dangers end up being larger than expected, but they keep climbing, nonetheless.[6] The rites of initiation decree no hunter should help or hinder another, but when Torris begins his climb up the trunk and branches of the tree, he finds more than flutterbeasts and meatbeasts with which he must contend. A mysterious climber keeps to the shadows and trails Torris. While Torris watches for glimpses of the mysterious hunter who follows him, Torris acquiesses to a period of sleep. In the dead of night, the mysterious hunter, sneaks in and steals Torris's supplies. What the thief doesn't need, he destroys; for this any hunter would be branded for the sacrilegious waste and cast out into space. When Torris wakes he is devastated to see his supplies gone, but he immediately starts anew, collecting the things he will need from the tree and crafting new tools. Torris has a second encounter with a hunter, but this time, with a much different result. Torris finds himself suddenly caught and upside down in a snare similar to that of Luke Skywalker in the ice cave on planet Hoth (Star Wars). Oh, yes...the hunter who catches him is a woman! Discovering that the female hunter is not the one who stole from him, they band together to reach the tree's topmost branches--Torris for his dream quest and the female hunter, called Ning, to get food for her family. The two hunters will encounter great flutterbeasts, meatbeasts, and fight for their lives as they set their hearts for the top of the tree. Will their quests end abruptly, interrupted, yet again, by the mysterious sacrilegious tracker? Throw into the mix an alien starship, a murder most foul, aliens capturing Torris, bride raids that threaten not only a nearby tree comet but Torris's, as well. With the Earth now dead, will its children survive as Children of the Comet? Or, will the remnants of the human race and other arriving starships end in destruction and a free-for-all grab for survival and dominance? WHAT I THINK OF THE BOOK: THE WORLD OF MYTH AND THE HERO'S JOURNEY: As I mentioned, above,Joseph Campbell's work instantly came to mind when I read about the comet and the gigantic world tree growing on it and, of course, Torris's journey to become a man through tribal tribal initiation. I found a short video for you (four minutes), to see what I mean--in Joseph Campbell's own words. [3] As Campbell said in the video, "Life is always on the edge of death, always!" And that is where Torris and Ning find themselves. Just as in the synopsis, the two are threatened on every side by flutterbeasts (to avoid being eaten by them), meatbeasts (to catch for food), mysterious trackers who follow the two hunters, a murder that takes place, their, Torris's and Ning's, tribes (bride raids and impending war), and eventually strange aliens in a huge space ship. And remember, even the elements threaten the young people--lack of air (for their homemade space suits), gravity (or the lack of it) in falling from the great tree's branches and even the freezing cold. Indeed, for Torris and Ning, their "Li[ves are] always on the edge of death!" [7] This technique that Donald Moffitt uses is nothing short of wonderful. He builds tension as we (the readers) follow Torris as he faces challenges that could change everything, not only for himself, but for his comet tribe and others. We also know that an ultimate challenge awaits Torris in his journey. Moffit makes the whole story exciting and anticipatory right up until the climax, at which point he gently moves to close the book. Moffitt's book, Children of the Comet, had me thinking of what I had learned years ago from a college class. We see "the world tree," "rights of initiation" "masks (in the form of space head gear)," "the hero's journey," itself, just to name a few. Also, know that Torris's father is important in the tribe, all on his own as "Facemaker" for the initiates who succeed and come back to the tribe, he markes their faces as a sign of adulthood. Lastly, looking at the book cover can tell you a lot about a book if you look closely enough...and think about it. Moffitt's book has a modernistic space helmet and a bow and arrow superimposed, one upon the other. The background looks black, until you look at the edges and see stars and realize that it is outerspace. A rather odd pairing of images, don't you think? One of the approaching spaceships is called, "Celestial Arrow." [8] Do you wonder how arrows fit into the story? Also, did you wonder about those images when you first saw the cover of the book. What did you think about the disparate images? If you decide to read this book think about the images as you proceed through the pages. THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK: I was a bit worried about the book, but only at first, because the book seemed a little slow to develop. I think the opening sections could have been condensed and still provide the atmosphere and setting for the story. I did find Moffitt's style of writing to be eminently readable. It felt comfortable and smooth, with no verbose or overly long sentences or paragraphs. His use of language and word choice is very subtle, but understandable and easy to move through. [9] THE REST OF THE BOOK: And then, as I read on, I began thinking that Donald Moffitt's story had become for me one of the most innovative and creative stories I've ever read. What a creative mind he had to craft such striking images, and excitement in a story. Without giving more of the plot away, I have to tell you that I found this book to be so rare in its originality, that I've never read another like it. Also, in this wonderful book you will find many things to consider besides what we have discussed, today. I especially enjoyed the superb way Moffitt contrasted the roles of women in the different societies and tribes. Really, food for thought! Another consideration is "time." The beginning and end of worlds, and the time given them. One spaceship is named "Time's Beginning." Very apropos as time is a major consideration throughout the book. (Sorry, no more juicy hints than that.) "Gravity" plays throughout the book as well as the other themes and motifs, as well as being cast out, shunning and rebirth. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: As well as Joseph Campbell, I fell in love with the words of Black Elk of the Oglala Sioux. Joseph Campbell, in his work, spoke of Black Elk and other Indian tribes, their stories and myths. The quote I leave you, here, is very much appropriate as a tie in to today's book. By the way, if you haven't read about Black Elk, or read any of his words, I urge you to do so. Here's the quote: [11] I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy...but anywhere is the center of the world. [10] Very much akin to Torris and his dream quest to the top of the gigantic tree. These holy dreams are messages to be taken to the priest or holy man and deciphered as a guide for life. Here, though, Black Elk is the holy man and he speaks to the people and tells them about the "center of the world." If you are excited enough to read this book, you will understand--no more juicy tidbits about the book--sorry. [12] RECOMMENDATIONS AND RATING: We have covered a lot of material in Donald Moffitt's book, today. I wish we had more time to talk, but we always have next time to cover more exciting reading material. By the way, next time we will be leaving science fiction and taking a trip into history; we will be looking at Richard Brooks' title, The Knight Who Saved England: William Marshal and the French Invasion, 1217." What an amazing true story. [13] As I have indicated, above, I really enjoyed Donald Moffitt's new title, Children of the Comet. This book from NetGalley deserves a great rating; so, based on everything I have indicated, above, I rate this book 5 stars. Even with the minor problems with the opening, I believe this wonderful book deserves a great rating. Thank you for joining me, today. I sincerely appreciate you reading and considering the material I have provided for you in this post. As always, if you have any comments or questions, please contact me here, or on twitter. Please join me next time as we delve into history with William Marshal and learn how Marshal saved England from the France's invasion. I hope everyone's Halloween was safe and fun for all. Until next time... ...many happy pages of reading! This flower is a white, with red center Rose of Sharon.[14] My love to you all, my reading friends! Sharon. ________________________________________________________ REFERENCES/SOURCES [1] "Children of the Comet." smile.amazon.com. Retrieved 10-18-15. [2] "The Power of Myth." [Joseph Campbell] reverb.mn. Retrieved 10-22-15. [3] "Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey Abridged." youtube.com. Retrieved 10-20-15. [4] "Are You Monomythic? Joseph Campbell and the Hero's Journey." [image only from: 06-25-14; the conversation; by craig Batty] theconversation.com. Retrieved 10-31-15. [5] "Mythology: The Stranger the Better." [selphyrthefae] fuckyeahstrangemythology.tumblr.com. Retreived 10-18-15. [6] "Jack and the Beanstalk." [by yusef-abonamah] yusef-abonamah.deviantart.com. Retrieved 10-29-15. [7] "NetGally." netgalley.com. Retrieved 10-31-15. [8] "Arrow." pixabay.com. Retrieved 10-31-15. [9] "Creative Thinking." pixshark.com. Retrieved 10-31-15. [10] "The Sunset." indians.org. Retrieved 10-30-15. [11] "Black Elk Speaks." [image only] [John G. Neihardt] neihardt.com. Retrieved 10-31-15. [12] "The Knight Who Saved England: William Marshal and the French Invasion, 1217." smile.amazon.com. Retrieved 10-31-15. [13] "Five Shooting Stars." jiannecarlo.com. Retrieved 10-31-15. [14] "White Rose of Sharon Gifts." zazzle.com. Retrieved 10-17-15.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chris Hart

    Well, this is interesting. This is a science fiction first-contact novel. The first contact is between humans and...humans. It begins in the year 6,000,000,000 AD when a branch of humankind has colonized trees seeded on comets in the Oort cloud. The trees grow hundreds of miles tall and have their own ecosystems. The other branch of humanity left Earth shortly after our own time and has been traveling on ships that reach almost the speed of light, causing time dilation, so the passengers age muc Well, this is interesting. This is a science fiction first-contact novel. The first contact is between humans and...humans. It begins in the year 6,000,000,000 AD when a branch of humankind has colonized trees seeded on comets in the Oort cloud. The trees grow hundreds of miles tall and have their own ecosystems. The other branch of humanity left Earth shortly after our own time and has been traveling on ships that reach almost the speed of light, causing time dilation, so the passengers age much more slowly. (Also, their lifespans are around 200 years, due to telomere therapy.) After heading out to colonize distant galaxies, a group heads back to Sol system and encounters the 12 ft tall humans from the cometary trees. It's definitely SF, not fantasy (for which I am grateful). It is a bit "talky", as the humans from our time spend a lot of ink and page time explaining stuff to each other that they all should have known already. If you think SF involves wizards, dragons, or spells, you should probably avoid this one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

    Interesting idea! Interesting idea, and good characters. The plot could have been better, still a lot of fun and it makes you wonder. If you like science fiction, you will probably enjoy this one. I will keep an eye on this author.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A Donald Moffitt book is a treat. The LAST Donald Moffitt book ever is a RARE GEM. Maybe, my absolute favorite author, because he understood Science Fiction better than anyone else. REAL SCIENCE FICTION. And this book has it all. Longer review coming.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    While well written, the "science" in this book is a bit of a stretch and the drama more of a "soap" than a "space" opera. While well written, the "science" in this book is a bit of a stretch and the drama more of a "soap" than a "space" opera.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Adam Meek

    Fun book, Moffit explores a primitive culture surviving in a void ecology based around Bernal trees and its interactions with time dilated space farers from the 21st century.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    Synopsis: Torris struggles to survive on a great tree on a comet with almost no gravity or air, but it has flutterbeasts and meatbeasts!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Francis

    This was a fun mix of advanced technology, primitive societies, space travel, and potential futures. A great used book store find!

  20. 5 out of 5

    John Haake

    At the beginning of this book -- when space traveling humans had digressed back to primitive living conditions on tree consumed comets, I thought the premise was just to great for my mind and I thought it was going to be more of a fantasy novel than a sci-fi novel. I almost decided to quit reading. I'm glad I didn't -- this book offered some very interesting sci-fi food for thought. Concepts of possible human conditions in the future that really got my mind worked up considering all the possibili At the beginning of this book -- when space traveling humans had digressed back to primitive living conditions on tree consumed comets, I thought the premise was just to great for my mind and I thought it was going to be more of a fantasy novel than a sci-fi novel. I almost decided to quit reading. I'm glad I didn't -- this book offered some very interesting sci-fi food for thought. Concepts of possible human conditions in the future that really got my mind worked up considering all the possibilities. My only hope is our large-particle research hunts actually lead to something as fascinating as the rocket drives this book describes. Mr. Moffitt -- thanks for the journey into an interesting possible future.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Six billion years in the future, Earth is uninhabitable, beneath the surface of the red giant sun. But life persists, in the outer reaches of the solar system, huge trees grow from comets, and people live there too, keeping air in hand-made suits. But things threaten to change when a ship arrives, a ship full of humans returning to see what home is like after a long, time-dilated trip to another galaxy. I received this book for free through a giveaway (although not through Goodreads). The book is Six billion years in the future, Earth is uninhabitable, beneath the surface of the red giant sun. But life persists, in the outer reaches of the solar system, huge trees grow from comets, and people live there too, keeping air in hand-made suits. But things threaten to change when a ship arrives, a ship full of humans returning to see what home is like after a long, time-dilated trip to another galaxy. I received this book for free through a giveaway (although not through Goodreads). The book is one of those built around a compelling out-there idea, this one a suggestion by Freeman Dyson (best known for the Dyson Sphere), which seems pretty crazy at first glance, of trees growing on comets. I can't judge the scientific merit, but the author here does manage to successfully sell the idea that with enough bioengineering, these comet ecosystems could exist and that humans, even ones who are primitive by our standards, could live there. It's an incredible exploration of the idea that could be the setup for a fabulous story. Unfortunately, that is not this story. It's not the plot itself, but rather much of the writing. The comet-bound sections are actually fairly well-done, actually, maybe a little cliche in some areas, but an enjoyable story. Unfortunately, everything else is much weaker, the secondary plot with the recognizable-as-human humans is where the author seems to get too wrapped up in his ideas to put together a well-crafted story. Exposition is particularly bad early on, where we get a lot of clumsy dumps of the basic ideas the author's playing around with, of the worst, "As you know, Bob," variety, and it continues throughout the book, although it gets slightly more deftly hadled. To inject tension and conflict, internal strife that I never really bought into... or, at least, I could buy into the different points of view, but how everybody went about it didn't ring true. Characterwise, too many of people seemed flat, or basic tropes, or occasionally, caricatures. The pace was also a little weird... again, it started okay on the comet, but many of the troubles wrapped up quickly and then we had suddenly everybody getting along and new people arrive, and have a negotiation about where everyone will live. It's almost comical that the book advances, straight-faced, visions of completely peaceful cooperation over centuries between vastly different people who are limited by the same pool of resources, taken as a given, when it started with immature power struggles approaching civil wars over what to do with a single spaceship. It started to feel like the author spent too much time setting up his incredibly vivid setting and show the readers all the ideas that went into it, more than actually telling a story. The book would almost have been better if it focused entirely on the comet-bound primitive population, which, I expected when I started, to be the part of the book that I'd like least. But at least there, there's the core of a really cool classic-style SF story, done well. If it were a shorter story focused on the good parts, I might have given it a 3 or possibly even a 4. Everything else... well, it certainly could have been done well, but in this case, it wasn't, and the entire book suffered for it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ally Camble

    6,000,000,000 A.D.: what’s left of humanity lives in trees in outer space. Well, what’s left of humanity in the Milky Way. Soon, these tree dwellers will meet their ancestors, though. Billions of years earlier, humans began travelling faster than the speed of light to colonize other far-off worlds and there are those who want to return home, even if home may be as foreign as anywhere else by now. Time’s Beginning is the first ship to return to find these tall tree dwelling tribes. They are able 6,000,000,000 A.D.: what’s left of humanity lives in trees in outer space. Well, what’s left of humanity in the Milky Way. Soon, these tree dwellers will meet their ancestors, though. Billions of years earlier, humans began travelling faster than the speed of light to colonize other far-off worlds and there are those who want to return home, even if home may be as foreign as anywhere else by now. Time’s Beginning is the first ship to return to find these tall tree dwelling tribes. They are able to save a young man who has been executed by his people (thrown out of his tree for killing another) and use him to make contact. In turn, Torris is able to return vindicated to his people. He is obviously the chosen spokesperson of their tree. The idea of trees in space is not a new one. Donald Moffit bases his book on the Dyson tree, named after Freeman Dyson. Dyson argued that all a tree needed to grow in on a comet was air and warmth (water, soil, carbon, nitrogen were already available). Through biological engineering, he believed humans could resolve these two missing pieces. In Children that’s exactly what humanity did. The trees flourished and when earth was no longer habitable, Torris’ ancestors settled in the trees. Moffit writes Children of the Comet in a way more like to a story in Genesis or a documentary than a typical novel. Essentially zooming in on certain events before zooming back out the reader gets spots of detail here and there. Most of the book provides an overall picture of what is happening and why. This is especially true in regards to Joorn, Alten and the rest aboard Time’s Beginning. We receive small insights into their personal lives. Mostly, though, we see the public side: their science, politics, and the history of a people returning home. The story around Torris is much more detailed and gives more insight into himself and his community. Even here the reader misses out on key moments in Torris’s life. When he is the tree doesn’t let him wake up too soon because it’s not done with him yet but we never find out why. What more did the tree have to share? We don’t see what happens to change Torris and Ning’s relationship from temporary partners to lovers. Nor do we learn how Torris inspires his people to accept him as a leader speaking for the tree rather than a lucky survivor who is helper his saviours interfere with their way of life. Space trees that make life possible beyond earth is fascinating. I loved reading about Torris and Ning’s way of life. I do wish there had been more detail. This one book could have been spread out over a series and been much more satisfying.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Do you ever wonder what the future hold for the human race should we still exist when our sun eventually starts to die? 'Children of the Comet' by Donald Wolfitt is an imaginative look at one possible scenario. The novel begins billions of years into our future where humanity has been scattered across the universe and now inhabits comets on which grow giant trees which provide an ecosystem, home and point of worship. This is a primitive culture that has no technological knowledge, a deeply patria Do you ever wonder what the future hold for the human race should we still exist when our sun eventually starts to die? 'Children of the Comet' by Donald Wolfitt is an imaginative look at one possible scenario. The novel begins billions of years into our future where humanity has been scattered across the universe and now inhabits comets on which grow giant trees which provide an ecosystem, home and point of worship. This is a primitive culture that has no technological knowledge, a deeply patriarchal society and the bow and arrow is the height of their achievements. They exist in hand-stitched spacesuits the heat for which is provided by a small creature they have to capture on a regular basis. The environment is harsh with virtually zero gravity though this does enable them to raid other trees by launching themselves into space when close enough and also aids in their coming-of-age ritual - the great climb to the top of the tree. It is this event that the main character, Torris, is preparing for when he is introduced. What happens on his quests sets off a sequence of events that will change the course of humanity. Happening in parallel to these events is the other half of the story. Set in our relatively near future is the journey of a spaceship sent to colonise and preserve the Human species far from Earth and its solar system. Two factions end up in control of this ship, one wishing to return to our system, the other wanting to reach the farthest edge of the universe. The uneasy alliance have several conflicts along the way, all of which are well-reasoned and plausible, offering an interesting look at how we interact with each other especially in continual proximity. At first these timelines seem far too disparate with no obvious link between them. However a clever bit of writing, effectively making the ship a time capsule, gradually brings the strands together. Though a little confusing at first the science is written in such a way that it is credible (in science fiction terms at least) and never becomes overwhelming. I found 'Children of the Comet' quite unique and gripping once I got used to the timescales. The two cultures, the phases of human evolution and the science itself make this a very entertaining read that is accessible to anyone. I am looking forward to reading the other novels that Donald Wolfitt has left us but, in the meantime, can definitely recommend this one. Many thanks to Netgalley and Open Road Media for the review copy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Children of the Comet is an amalgamation of sci-fi for both newcomers and veterans of the genre alike. Not overwrought with fantastical concepts, yet flush with technical detail, there is a clash of both worlds not too dissimilar from the one taking place between the proverbial pages. It's a fascinating dichotomy that ultimately holds the story back from realizing it's full potential by not truly satisfying either party. Centered around the fate of two civilizations separated by time and space, C Children of the Comet is an amalgamation of sci-fi for both newcomers and veterans of the genre alike. Not overwrought with fantastical concepts, yet flush with technical detail, there is a clash of both worlds not too dissimilar from the one taking place between the proverbial pages. It's a fascinating dichotomy that ultimately holds the story back from realizing it's full potential by not truly satisfying either party. Centered around the fate of two civilizations separated by time and space, Children of the Comet is a science journal and coming of age story. The heavily scientific part pertains to the fate of humanity as we might imagine it in a future where the colonization of space is as blasé as parallel parking at the supermarket. The other is that of a young man growing up in a harsh world where people inhabit gigantic trees that spring forth from traveling comets, hurtling in the vacuum of space. The inevitable collision course of both these worlds is an interesting one, but sadly the premise outweighs the execution with a story that favors extremely dry, technical exposition in favor of actual character development. As such the reader is often left with rather shallow outlines of characters that converse at length over the theory of space travel, but almost never about themselves, their feelings or motivations. The frequent occurrence of lengthy info dumps by way of one character explaining convoluted space-jargon to another takes you out of the story and instead evokes the feeling of a technical manual rather than an involved tale about the future of humanity. Moffitt also tends to skip large chunks of time quite liberally to advance the plot when it is required. On one hand it's refreshing to see an author not linger on a chapter any longer than he has to, on the other the end result can make the book seem disjointed and chaotic. Thats not to say there are no redeeming qualities to be found in Children of the Comet. The story is genuinely intriguing if not flawed, and while the colonists half feels dry and un-involved, the tale of the titular comet children presents a lot of fascinating ideas from both a technical and ideological standpoint. A great start that doesn't quite stick the landing in the end, I would definitely be interested in seeing what David Moffitt chooses to explore in his next ne

  25. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    {I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.} Here's an interesting concept for a science fiction novel: two societies are featured, but the more primitive one is later in time than the technologically advanced one. How on earth did their technology devolve? Well, actually, it didn't happen on earth at all - it happened in space and on trees growing out of comets. Yes, trees growing out of comets. It took me awhile to get into Children of the Comet by Donald Mof {I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.} Here's an interesting concept for a science fiction novel: two societies are featured, but the more primitive one is later in time than the technologically advanced one. How on earth did their technology devolve? Well, actually, it didn't happen on earth at all - it happened in space and on trees growing out of comets. Yes, trees growing out of comets. It took me awhile to get into Children of the Comet by Donald Moffitt, but I couldn't give up because of the concept. I slogged through pretty serious information dumps and learned that I don't understand the difference between mass and weight before I really felt lost in the story. That was about halfway through and I burned through the last half. While I did like this book in the end, there were many passages that abruptly pushed me out of the story. Like there were string of characters with names like Joorn and then the next generation has names like Ryan and Nina. Maybe it was a mechanism to show the changing culture, but all I could think was that they were in two different stories. As a science fiction fan, I love reading about cutting edge or even fantastical technology, but that knowledge is usually not essential to understanding the basics of the story. In Children of the Comet, by inability to wrap my head around microgravity and the aforementioned difference between mass and weight was seriously detrimental. Again, it was jarring. I'd think wait, he is going to drop a bag down to the bottom of the tree? How does that work? Or some creature would be coming at him and I couldn't grasp how he got away. What I did love about this book was learning about each society in unexpected ways, through the eyes of others. This strategy gave the whole book a sense of mystery and intrigue. I wanted to know more about these people (and therefore wanted to keep reading!). In any event, this book is worth reading just to experience the two societies side by side and the tricks of time and relativity that carry them forward. For more reviews, visit Plan to Happy!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alex Andrasik

    Really interesting book. I liked it. Like much of the "hard sci fi" I've encountered, narrative structure and beautiful writing take a back page to an exploration of fascinating ideas and scenarios, thus the three stars. But the combination of those ideas/scenarios with at least a few characters I really cared about makes this well worth a read. At the outset I had the mistaken impression that this would be another in the mold of Hunger Games or Red Rising, with a young member of a tenuous societ Really interesting book. I liked it. Like much of the "hard sci fi" I've encountered, narrative structure and beautiful writing take a back page to an exploration of fascinating ideas and scenarios, thus the three stars. But the combination of those ideas/scenarios with at least a few characters I really cared about makes this well worth a read. At the outset I had the mistaken impression that this would be another in the mold of Hunger Games or Red Rising, with a young member of a tenuous society facing a deadly rite of passage as the main thrust of the plot. Turns out, that was only the beginning, the launching point for the exploration of astrophysics and evolutionary biology that was to follow. So, if you're suffering from Katniss overload, don't give up on this book based on the first chapter. Author Moffitt (whom I understand has passed away, sadly) does a great job working with the two important factors in this book: introducing us to an intriguing primitive society and all of the conditions that made it possible, and explaining the mind-bending science behind his version of interstellar travel. To his great credit, both elements feel completely natural, as though they could really happen (but for all I know, this is all as likely as unicorns piloting fighter jets, but what's important is that it *feels* possible). I might as well come out with it: GIANT SPACE-FARING TREES. It's so cool and it's apparently based on real scientific theory. It's the best thing ever. Read it and love it. Where the book falls down a bit for me is where it focuses on the futuristic interlopers who show up. Their presence is necessary and important, but it introduces some narrative inconsistencies that are hard to overlook, some top-heavy drama, and a lot of sort improbable dialogue and stilted human interaction. Also, let's just say that it doesn't seem like Moffitt gives much philosophical credence to Kirk and company's insistence upon that pesky Prime Directive--it gives the whole thing a sort of flat moral framework. But. Giant space-faring trees. There's nothing better.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    This is a very difficult book to review. There are two scientific concepts that are the basis for Children of the Comet. These brilliant ideas have the potential for a fantastic book. 1. If a spaceship is traveling at a speed very close to the speed of light, time slows down for its passengers. The closer to the speed of light that you get, the more time compresses. So if you spend 50 or more years traveling at near light speed, billions of years will pass for the rest of the universe. Then when This is a very difficult book to review. There are two scientific concepts that are the basis for Children of the Comet. These brilliant ideas have the potential for a fantastic book. 1. If a spaceship is traveling at a speed very close to the speed of light, time slows down for its passengers. The closer to the speed of light that you get, the more time compresses. So if you spend 50 or more years traveling at near light speed, billions of years will pass for the rest of the universe. Then when you turn around and head back to Earth at the same speeds, you may arrive back at Earth 7 billion years after you left. It is as if you were a time traveler. 2. If a tree can be genetically modified so that it could live in a vacuum and also could use the icy material in a comet to furnish its water and minerals, then that tree could grow to be hundreds of miles tall. This could furnish wood for building in space. After many thousands or millions of years, these trees could become living worlds, with people and animals living in and on them. I could imagine so many great epics that could be told using either of these ideas. Children of the Comet could have been one of those epic books, but the promise was only partially realized. The first half of the book, especially the portion that takes place on the tree is great. The second half is more of the typical sci-fi space opera. It wasn’t bad, just disappointing. I was so excited. I thought that this might really be great. Then it ended up just being average. So I guess that I have to average it out. Great concepts, great story line and characters on the tree, average finish, makes for a 4 Star book. I still give Children of the Comet a Big Thumbs Up, because I love the ideas that Mr. Moffitt had. I just wish that the whole plot could have lived up to its potential. I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

    I was given an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review courtesy of NetGalley. I liked half of this book. And because of that i'm putting it in my "Books I Gave Up On" list. I didn't technically read this whole book. I won't be counting it towards my yearly goal because I read about half of it. I skimmed the viewpoints I didn't like. I liked the story of Torris and his people living on the tree comet floating through space. I love their society and their survival. I love how the I was given an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review courtesy of NetGalley. I liked half of this book. And because of that i'm putting it in my "Books I Gave Up On" list. I didn't technically read this whole book. I won't be counting it towards my yearly goal because I read about half of it. I skimmed the viewpoints I didn't like. I liked the story of Torris and his people living on the tree comet floating through space. I love their society and their survival. I love how their world building was written. I did NOT love the story of the people of Time's Beginning. The book instantly lost me the minute we switched to their narrative. There was far too much time spent talking about how things work scientifically and barely any time spent talking about plot. The plot was almost and after thought and even when it was more explained, the characters were nothing more than vessels for scientific explanations. I did not care for any of them. I found myself speed reading their chapters and any time science came up my eyes would glaze over and i'd skip down the page until plot came back up. I"m all for world building, it's my favorite part of books. But this wasn't world building, it was self indulgent and unnecessary. It added nothing to the story and actively detracted from it. If I could give this book 2 1/2 stars I would because that's a more accurate measurement of how much I liked it. Even when the two narratives came together I still couldn't make myself care about it. Maybe people who are more interested in very technical sci fi will enjoy the things I didn't. But i'm just not into it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David C

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Mild spoiler warning This book reminds me of "Orphans In The Sky," not so much because of the plot, although it features a colony ship that cannot exceed light speed. It is more the look and feel of mid-20th century conquer the galaxy-ness. It's a much more positive view of the future than in "Orphans," that dystopian treat. "Children of the Comet" has plenty of struggle and strife, but the good guys come out okay in the end. In other words, you could give this book to a 10-year-old, maybe an 8-y Mild spoiler warning This book reminds me of "Orphans In The Sky," not so much because of the plot, although it features a colony ship that cannot exceed light speed. It is more the look and feel of mid-20th century conquer the galaxy-ness. It's a much more positive view of the future than in "Orphans," that dystopian treat. "Children of the Comet" has plenty of struggle and strife, but the good guys come out okay in the end. In other words, you could give this book to a 10-year-old, maybe an 8-year-old. In another way the book is like Poul Anderson's classic "Tau Zero." In the near future we learn to build ships that can pretty rapidly approach speed of light and therefore take advantage of time dilation. We learn this from a couple of small expository lumps. Most of the action takes place billions of years in our future. Giant trees have seeded the Oort cloud, and humans living there too. We have also colonized other galaxies. Now, sometime dilated humans are coming back to solve system. The stars are billions of years older, but the humans have only lived a few decades. When the tree dwellers meet the space travelers things start to really get interesting. The animals and plants are charming and well thought out. The times and speeds probably are completely impossible, but they seem plausible the way that Moffitt writes about them. The people and their interactions are excellently done. This is one of the strong points of the book. I already cheated and told to that it has a happy ending, but there's plenty of excitement on the way. And I did think of the integral trees; he borrowed the same concept that Niven used.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book is not for those who are unused to science fiction. That's not true because it was particularly 'hard' science fiction, but because without knowing about some of the common themes that appear in the genre, a first introduction to them in this book would not be particularly inspiring. To try to describe the plot is somewhat complicated. But to challenge myself to do so in one sentence: Space travelers return to the Sol system with a few difficulties to discover humans have evolved into a This book is not for those who are unused to science fiction. That's not true because it was particularly 'hard' science fiction, but because without knowing about some of the common themes that appear in the genre, a first introduction to them in this book would not be particularly inspiring. To try to describe the plot is somewhat complicated. But to challenge myself to do so in one sentence: Space travelers return to the Sol system with a few difficulties to discover humans have evolved into a new race and must decide what to do about them. But I'm not even sure if that was really the main problem presented for the plot in the story, because it didn't ever quite feel like a problem. It was more of a description of the events than anything really at stake. In that way the story felt a little empty to me. I liked Torris, initially. I think I was most intrigued by the first part of his journey and the first encounter. The characters did not feel particularly real to me; I am not quite sure what could have necessarily been improved but they felt a little generic. I think part of the problem was that not enough time was spent with the characters beyond them talking about theories and situations. There was a lot of explaining going on through dialogue. I didn't not like the story, but as far as my own personal opinion of the book, it was just okay. It did leave me with a little bit of hope for us past the point when the planet is destroyed by us and then by the sun if we can get going with space travel.

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