by Greg Bear
Reviewed date: 2005 May 22
Rating: 2
503 pages
cover art

Plot: At the height of the Cold War an asteroid enters Earth orbit. American science teams explore the asteroid, which has been hollowed out to create an Earth-like habitat inside. But the most startling discovery is that the inside of the asteroid is larger than the outside. Much larger.

Review: Eon feels like a cross between Rendezvous with Rama and Ringworld. Unfortunately, Greg Bear takes the worst aspects of those books. His plot is paper-thin, his Cold War conflict ages poorly, his science is bunk, and the characters are cookie-cutter constructs.

Another problem: too many main characters. Most Greg Bear novels suffer from character glut, but Eon is the worst I've read to-date. Using many characters allows the events to be shown from all points of view, but it disrupts the free flow of the storytelling.

Stereotypes of the Soviets work to Eon's disadvantage. Communism in Russia allowed less freedom than capitalism in America, but that doesn't mean Soviets are the incarnation of all things evil and stupid. Try again, Mr. Bear.

Copy editing errors also damage the book. I'm not up to speed on my Russian, but I have been informed that some of Bear's Russian names are just plain wrong. As is his Chinese, reportedly. The proofreading is abysmal too. In the space of a few pages one name is spelled three different ways: Korzenowsky, Kozenowsky, and Korzenosky. Mistakes like this riddle the book. There is never an excuse for that level of incompetence by the proofreaders. It's not the author's fault and it may be corrected in other editions, but it's a strike against the book anyway.

Even ignoring the copy editing and proofreading errors there is nothing in Eon that is commendable.

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