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The Killing Star  By  cover art

The Killing Star

By: George Zebrowski,Charles Pellegrino
Narrated by: Jay Snyder
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Publisher's Summary

The opening chapter of an incredible adventure that includes the destruction of Earth by ten thousand relativistic bombs launched by an alien race. This science fiction thriller follows the desperate struggles of the remnants of humankind to survive in a hostile universe.

©1995 Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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What listeners say about The Killing Star

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely terrifying!

Imagine yourself taking a stroll through Manhattan, somewhere north of 68th street, deep inside Central Park, late at night. It would be nice to meet someone friendly, but you know that the park is dangerous at night. That's when the monsters come out. There's always a strong undercurrent of drug dealings, muggings, and occasional homicides.

It is not easy to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys. They dress alike, and the weapons are concealed. The only difference is intent, and you can't read minds.

Stay in the dark long enough and you may hear an occasional distance shriek or blunder across a body.

How do you survive the night? The last thing you want to do is shout, "I'm here!" The next to last thing you want to do is reply to someone who shouts, "I'm a friend!"

What you would like to do is find a policeman, or get out of the park. But you don't want to make noise or move towards a light where you might be spotted, and it is difficult to find either a policeman or your way out without making yourself known. Your safest option is to hunker down and wait for daylight, then safely walk out.

There are, of course, a few obvious differences between Central Park and the universe.

There is no policeman.

There is no way out.

And the night never ends.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The best Sci-Fi you never read

I have no idea how I missed this one back in the 90's. Let me assure you, it is not dated in any way (except for the dates on a few discoveries that seem not to have occurred!).

It's a profoundly great book that everyone with even a twinkling of interest in speculative fiction should read.

If you haven't yet, then I envy you. I wish they had done a sequel.

2 people found this helpful

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Great

A little hard to follow at first, but it was truly great. Story was awesome, and so was the narrator. Same guy from Hyperion!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Not bad, but... bleak.

just my opinion, the story is quite bleak. I'm reminded of a child who can create wonderful things, but then destroys them in a fit of pique.

this isn't to say the story is bad. just... bleak.

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  • JK
  • 09-09-22

A story truly about the hubris of man.

Hard sci fi at its finest. I discovered this book through the youtube channel quinn's ideas. I'm thrilled I discovered it.

I feel science fiction like this and other works from noteworthy authors are the grimm fairy tales of modern society. Telling a riveting story while also weaving in a warning to us all.

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Worth your time

This was an outstanding book. I really enjoyed reading it or should I say listening to it because it is “hard” science-fiction. They were a few things that I thought did not work such as flying into a star or a gas giant and being able to escape the gravitational force to get out. I thought that was difficult to believe. There are other areas that I’m sure you’ll figure out. It was really a clever novel. I was surprised at the science 27 years ago when it was written the writer must have really been on his game.

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Amazing book

Wish it were longer and showed what became of the Humans. I found this book exciting to read.

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    2 out of 5 stars

Annoying biblical drivel

Sci-fi meets pompous christian sermon. I couldn't even finish it... which is sad, cuz I liked it otherwise. But damn I couldn't take it anymore.

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Very good book

Must read if you like sci-fi. A great story about a deadly encounter with high tech aliens.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Encyclopedic horror

The narrative’s horror and literary elements are dumbed down by the encyclopedic manner of delivering the plot. I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I wanted to because of that. The performance of the narrator, however, is top-notch. His voice is engaging and probably the reason why I was able to finish the story. Sometimes too much hard science exposition can derail the literary impact of a story.

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  • Muzzy
  • 03-29-15

Great Start - Not-So-Great End

Would you try another book written by George Zebrowski and Charles Pellegrino or narrated by Jay Snyder?

If other books were longer or more complete- then yep

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Flesh it out more - beyond an intriguing premise, it whittles out to nothing. Aliens come - destroy man. Some of man survives. The end.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Opening Scene

Any additional comments?

The story flows well but ends abruptly and without a sequel - feels as if it is simply constructed from one idea - the first chapter, where humanity is destroyed. The rest of the book leads up to the reason why and leaves it at that. Quite disappointing.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 11-24-22

A thesis that became a novel

I had hoped TKS might be a sci-fi cult classic created from an apocalyptic interspecies war between humans and non-humanoid aliens intent on eliminating every last one of us, and for reasons that are mysterious until the very last chapter.

The story is set in the late twenty first century, but numerous references to the wreck of the Titanic and the film Jurassic Park in the early chapters anchor the story in the late twentieth century, giving it an oddly dated, yet charming premise.

It all moves along at a decent pace and is not shy in challenging contemporary issues head on. For example, the discourse regarding earth's religions and its prophets was interesting, though reminded me a little of The Hitchhikers Guide and brought a wry smile to my lips that I assume was not intentional :) Also, the examination of the moral relativism between different species made some very effective points, albeit a little clumsily at times.

So is TKS a cult classic? It is a novel somewhat short on the action I was expecting, and a tad shallow on plot. It reads more like an academic thesis that has morphed into a docudrama populated with a cast of characters given hasty back stories, often resembling an attempt to complete a jigsaw without a picture to refer to.

But TKS does have other strengths, it is top-heavy with ideas and hits the mark if you enjoy searching questions to mull over or just happen to be partial to a generous helping of 1990s sci-fi nostalgia. It is worth a read if you get the chance.

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  • Cleo
  • 11-11-22

Philosophical '90s Hard Sci-Fi

Very much of its time, sharing the zeitgeist with Titanic, Jurassic Park, and Contact.
If you're willing to put up with the lengthy exploration of certain themes and over-reliance on the real-life Titanic as an allegory, you'll enjoy a visceral dive into an optimistic near-future and its brutal destruction.

It's hard to keep pace with, and crushingly dark at times, but not totally without hope or closure. The action scenes are very descriptive and tightly laid out.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrei Tancau
  • 10-22-22

good story

it is an overall good story, not commenting on the narator, the dude is always on point. 4 stars because it just feels like a huge chunk of the story ain't there. but you should get it anyway, because that is just me being me. i always want more.

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  • James
  • 10-09-22

Terrific Story, superb delivery

Strong performance of a compelling narrative. A deep and complex consideration of “are we alone/why are we alone?”

Powerful and thought-provoking, the author makes no mis-steps or decent into hyperbole.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kevin Gilmartin
  • 09-14-16

Interesting, but not gripping.

It's essentially an essay on a possible doomsday scenario. Not a happy novel, but some interesting ideas on how and why an alien intelligence might exterminate us.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Drawingboard82
  • 02-16-16

mixed views

The novel struggles to build on its elemental premise, I.e, a space fairing human race is a threat to other civilisations and must be eliminated. Most of the book is ham fisted thrusting of this viewpoint which does little to aid the plot. The authors constantly reiterate the importance of the relativistic bomb in a manner which implies they are proud of it and terribly clever. Such character development as exists consists of long winded anecdotes which serve as little more than mouthpieces for the authors views. I don't buy the absorption bomb idea which is crucial to one plot line. There is a general lack of conclusion but that is acceptable in the context of the story arc. Having said all this the book is still worth reading and raises some interesting questions.