Above our planet hangs a hollow Stone, vast as the imagination of Man. The inner dimensions are at odds with the outer: there are different chambers to be breached, some even containing deserted cities. The furthest chamber contains the greatest mystery ever to confront the Stone's scientists. But tombstone or milestone, the Stone is not an alien structure: it comes from the future of our humanity. And the war that breaks out on Earth seems to bear witness to the Stone's prowess as oracle ...
What did we think?
My first book as "chair" of the Book Club and my initial worried about no one being there were dispelled by an impressive turnout.
Whilst the novel seemed to be big on ideas, and good ones at that, it was generally agreed that it fell down on characters. Many of the characters in the novel seems to be little more than cardboard-cutout stereotypes with bland or (in the case of the sex scenes) poorly handled emotions. Much, if not all, of their emotional story was deemed to be superfluous and to distract from the much more interesting concept of the intergalactic, interdimensional asteroid.
As an example of Hard SF, as well as containing an example of a "Big Dumb Object", it drew comparisons with Larry Niven's Ringworld and Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, both of which were written earlier 1970 and '73 respectively (Eon was '85). The politics of the novel, steeped in Cold War pessimism about human co-operation, was found to be interesting if, obviously, dated. I would draw attention to Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars which handles multiple plots and politics better than Eon.
On the whole, the novel was enjoyed but not loved, frustrating but not hated. It was seen as an example of an author's earlier work where the author was big on concept and the scientific propping up of said concept, but let down by the human aspect. It could be said that in Eon, Bear lacks the emotional maturity that comes both with age and experience as a writer (he was 34 when Eon was published).
The average score given to Greg Bear's Eon was 5/10
Votes: 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6
So. Do you agree with my summary of the meeting? Did I miss out a major point or do you just want to continue the discussion on these themes. Either way is fine, this was written largely from memory (next time I'll take better notes). Post your comments below: