Discussion Board

Topic: Anvil of Stars is the best book I've ever read

From: Matt Morris
Location: Australia
Date: 01/30/2013

Dear Mr Bear,

I think this is the second time I've written to you to thank you for writing a great book, but this time feels a lot more important.

I first encountered your writing in Halo: Cryptum, and really only read that as I enjoyed the video game universe it was based in when I was younger. I found the book to be amazing, and genuinely life altering - it sounds silly to write out, but reading that book made me think about things in a very different way.

I started thinking about mankind's role on Earth, and our future, and how I could help make it a good one. It feels silly to write out, but I was really inspired by your vision of this unified, transendent society, even if they were arrogant and patronising.

While looking for something new to read I came across Forge of God and really enjoyed it, but as a thriller and almost a detective story. When I found out that Anvil of Stars was not about New Mars, I was wondering if it would even be enjoyable at all.

I genuinely feel blessed that I read Anvil of Stars, and that I've experienced that book. I can't believe you were able to craft that story, to restrain from being heavy handed with message and symbolism, to inject the whole book with so much life. I never wanted it to end.

I've only just finished it, but I imagine I'll be revisiting it every year - I just can't really comprehend at the moment how it's humanly possible to write something that good, to create a world so genuinely and believably alien whilst retaining connections that make everything feel so important.

I didn't mean for this to get this long, and I feel like I could go on, but I just wanted to thank you for doing what you do. When you wrote that book, I was three years old, and 21 years later it's just added an enormous amount to my life, my world view and my aspirations. Thank you so much, I really, really appreciate the work that you do.


Matt Morris

Re: Anvil of Stars is the best book I've ever read

From: Greg Bear
Date: 02/03/2013

Many thanks, Matt! How terrific that you reached ANVIL through our Halo books!

Re: Anvil of Stars is the best book I've ever read

From: zrdb
Location: United States
Date: 02/19/2013

Hard core science fiction is my forte-this is one of the best I've read inyears-bar none.

Re: Anvil of Stars is the best book I've ever read

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/03/2013

Good to hear as well, zrdb! Working on another space epic right now... with a very different approach. Hope it works!

Re: Anvil of Stars is the best book I've ever read

From: Scott Stahl
Location: United States
Date: 04/03/2013

I originally posted this in the old Anvil discussion board but it did not appear...closed thread? Anyway here is a re-post.....
I've just finished (Another!) re-reading of Anvil. I wrote several years ago asking about David Brin's efforts to speak out against shouting into the darkness. You were kind enough to give gracious, detailed answers to my questions. Another aspect that has held continuing fascination for me is what I would call the Liberal vs Conservative views on the enactment of the law among the characters. How much was that on your mind as you wrote? I know you may be reluctant to delve into politics (I don't blame you). I noticed Ariel's reflexive distrust, if not downright paranoia of the Mom's/Benefactors vs the strange ability to overlook the very obvious clues of the killers continued presence... The idea of blaming and distrusting the good guys while wanting to trust enemies. Liberals among us tend to be harder on ourselves than conservatives. We still see the old "Blame America" arguments crop up in our politics regularly. (On the whole I believe the US has been a force for good in the world...but not perfect for sure!) Many in the crew are guilt-ridden over "revenge". Martin at the end asking "who or what has been served?" The Brothers, most of the crew, still stuck on guilt for vengeance. Not explored by many with much depth is the concept of Justice, not just revenge. I would want to avenge the destruction of my home, but in the act of carrying out the law much more was accomplished. The finding of millions, if not billions of brand new needle ships waiting to be unleashed means that in destroying this huge civilization the crew had saved countless others (More Trillions?) from future destruction. Surely that made enactment of the law not only excusable, but absolutely necessary! Perhaps being stuck together in a tin can, no matter how big and fancy, gave the people a more Myopic view...an inability to see themselves and their actions as part of a larger whole. The perspective of the ships mind lends weight to the idea that it saw the crew as needing some growing up and perspective in times to come. Perhaps as a reader given a more god's eye view I shouldn't be too dismissive of some of the characters reactions...there are plenty of ambiguities even for us. A great read makes me want to scream at the characters- "Are You blind?!?! What the hell are you thinking?!?!" Which means you did your job very well! Hats off!

Re: Anvil of Stars is the best book I've ever read

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/10/2013

Thanks, Scott. Going back over those themes makes my head spin!

Respond to this discussion

May we post your correspondence on this site?
IMPORTANT: For form verification, type the following number in the box below: 75

See Also...

Archives: [Oct-Dec 2004] [Jan-June 2005] [July-Dec 2005] [Jan-June 2006] [July 2006] [Aug-Dec 2006] [2007] [2008] [2009] [2010] [2011] [2012] [2013] [2014] [2015] [Current] [Search Blog Archives]