Anvil of Stars by Greg Bear


Mad Mountain Man
Jun 29, 2010
Scottish Highlands
The earlier book, The Forge of God, sets up the base conditions for this sequel but there the resemblance ends. The Forge of God takes place almost exclusively on Earth as mankind tries desperately to protect their planet from the ‘Killers’’ planet destroyers. Now the children of the survivors are out for revenge. The entire feel of the books shifts from apocalyptic to space opera, from a bleak vision of destruction to an unabashed examination of morals.

However, though very different, Anvil of Stars is equally good. However, as always with Greg Bear’s work, I find the world building upstages the actors. His sound hard SF imaginings are, for me, much better executed than his characters, which always seem to me a little stiff and awkward and maybe just a little 2 dimensional and cliched. The tough leader just managing to avoid outright tyranny, the religious fanatic leading people astray and the slightly wooden relationships. But if, like me, you love your hard SF world building, which does here tend to come to centre stage, then that should make up for any slight lack in the characterisation.

The other big let down for me was the final ending which felt like a bit of a cop out; I can think of several ways I would have preferred the ending, even if they might have removed some of the final redemption. Still this is a very good piece of hard SF that I would recommend highly to any fans of that sub-genre.

4/5 stars
I read these out of order at first. I was working nights and someone had left a copy, which I read. I loved the concept of the aggregate intelligence, (something new to me at the time). I always wondered if the children were subject to the Law as they are now planet killers.

Of the two, I prefer The Forge of God, although i always find I’ll read the pair together.

I did read somewhere that Bear planned to return to this series, but nothing yet.
I always wondered if the children were subject to the Law as they are now planet killers.
This is where I thought it was a cop out:
Them finding the collections of killer needles ready to go out. Was to my way of thinking a cop out; it invited the reader to think "Oh, well that's alright they were clearly Killers so everything is okay. Bear did put a bit in the epilogue where Martin wonders if all the other sentient intelligences they have just killed really knew nothing about the planet killing and they'd just killed trillions of innocent beings. But it felt like an afterthought and the strongest feeling the reader is left with seems to be it's okay because they found evidence after they'd done the killing. I think it could have been made much more interesting if he'd followed that thread further.