Rollback PDF Ò Hardcover

Rollback Dr Sarah Halifax decoded the first ever radio transmission received from aliens Thirty eight years later a second message is received and Sarah now 87 may hold the key to deciphering this one too if she lives long enough A wealthy industrialist offers to pay for Sarah to have a rollback—a hugely expensive experimental rejuvenation procedure She accepts on condition that Don her husband of sixty years gets a rollback too The process works for Don making him physically twenty five again But in a tragic twist the rollback fails for Sarah leaving her in her eighties While Don tries to deal with his newfound youth and the suddenly vast age gap between him and his wife Sarah struggles to do again what she’d done once before figure out what a signal from the stars contains


10 thoughts on “Rollback

  1. Jim Jim says:

    I've enjoyed a number of Robert Sawyer's books my favorites of his being the trilogy beginning with Hominids He is a concept guy which I appreciate as I like the ideas he presents This book Rollback was one I read for a science fiction book discussion group It certainly gave us a lot to talk about The story is about Dr Sarah Halifax who decoded the first radio transmission from space It takes 38 years for the second message to arrive But now Sarah is 87 and may not be able to decode the message In steps a wealthy industrialist who offers Sarah a rollback the highly expensive experimental process to rejuvenate her so that she can complete her work Sawyer deals with the ramifications of the rollback and also with how contact with aliens might develop We also get an intriguing glimpse of the near future


  2. Sandi Sandi says:

    About halfway through Rollback by Robert J Sawyer I had a scathing review all ready to go I hated the first half There were way too many brand names used There were way too many Star Trek references There was this horribly long exposition about the movie Contact starring Jodie Foster The couple around whom the story centers were born a year before me and I had a hard time relating to their thought processes If I were reminiscing about a pizza dinner from 40 years earlier I certainly wouldn't be thinking about it being from Pizza Hut and remembering that the crust was really bad for you I know that hard science fiction has a tendency towards exposition but Sawyer takes that exposition to an extreme by explaining things we already know about I mean really what was the point of recalling that Mr Rogers started on Canadian television? Was it worth a whole paragraph? Just past the halfway mark the story picked up a bit Sawyer dropped much of the name dropping and got into his characters a little bit The twist ending was very good and the epilogue made the bookFrankly I felt like I had to sift through a lot of junk to get the the good stuff in this book The good stuff was very good but it could have been adeuately covered in a 100 150 page novella rather than a 320 page novel I was really disappointed I was really looking forward to enjoying this book It was nominated for the Hugo award and I loved Hominids by this same author At least it was a fast read


  3. Roger Roger says:

    This book is up for the Best Novel Hugo this year and it deserves it although I'll reserve final judgment on that until I've read the other four in the category It is a STRONG contender thoughThe year is 2048 Sarah Halifax a SETI researcher who cracked the first alien transmission to earth in 2009 and who helped craft the reply is 87 and living in uiet retirement On her 60th wedding anniversary the aliens have responded with an encrypted message A wealthy industrialist convinced she is involved with a single alien pen pal offers to give her a rollback so that she will have the time to decrypted the message and keep the conversation going She agrees only if her husband Don gets the rollback too While it would seem that the big idea in this book is confirmation of intelligent life in the universe other than our own that is really just a vehicle to deal with uestions of being given the fountain of youth and the conseuences of being young again How would you deal with being given your physical youth back at the age of 87? What do you do when your wife whom you love and adore is given the same treatment but it fails because of experimental cancer treatments she had 40 years previously How do you deal with your adult children when you know you'll outlive them and most likely live to see your grandchildren grow old and give you great grandchildren Robert Sawyer answers these uestions in realistic and bittersweet ways


  4. Megan Baxter Megan Baxter says:

    It's been over a week since I finished this book which is definitely going to slightly change how this review will come out If I'd written it as soon as I had finished this would likely be a lot ranty and I am still annoyed but the anger has lost its heat It's too bad because I was pretty worked up about this book and in particular how it treats the female characters and what story it centers and how it's a retread of a theme that has come up in other Sawyer works but does nothing new with it Oh wait maybe the anger is coming back I've reached the level of annoyance anywayNote The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision hereIn the meantime you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook


  5. Craig Craig says:

    This is a hard science first contact novel with a very interesting look at communication and aging and finding the time to achieve life long goals with some dandy pop culture references for Trekkers Sawyer always provides challenging and thought provoking plots and this time he integrates enjoyable and engaging characters as well I enjoyed it thoroughly


  6. Heather Heather says:

    this is an extremely character driven book to the degree that i wished for a little less dialogue and certainly less posturing or lecturing because boy is this book full of discussions where people preach the merits of this position or that the fact that i shared some of his characters' beliefs? maybe that made it worse i don't know but it seemed heavy handed there are some cool ideas but the particular way he blended pop culture references in was somehow annoying rather than charming even as a star trek fan the references to trek felt pretentious also references to a slightly related movie contact just made this book feel like a partial ripoff that said as someone who is approaching her 40s ?? i appreciated the exploration of age and the perspective that comes with the different periods of one's life not that this is enough to actually recommend sawyer's book


  7. Jason Pettus Jason Pettus says:

    Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcentercom I am the original author of this essay as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegallyRegular readers know that July has been somewhat of a special month for me in that I was accidentally able to get ahold of eight out of the twelve science fiction novels nominated this year for either the Hugo or Philip K Dick award and have been reviewing all of them here throughout the month; today's review is the seventh in that series in fact with only Adam Roberts' Gradisil still to go which is phenomenal by the way and right now is tied in my head with Ian McDonald's Brasyl as my favorite of the eight; but on that in a few days Today I'm reviewing the latest by Robert J Sawyer an industry veteran who is one of the few proud holders of the SF award trifecta the Hugo Nebula and Campbell awards that is considered by most fans to be the three most important awards in the industry; it is my first book by him frankly the Hugo nominated Rollback from 2007 and I have to admit right away that I found it kind of a mess unfortunately turning by halfway through into an unreadable mess now making me wonder if his entire career is maybe a bit overinflated or if he just happened to turn in a subpar book here in particularSee it's about this old couple right? And nearly half a century ago the wife of this couple happened to be the first person on the planet to figure out the meaning behind the very first message ever received from extraterrestrial intelligent life and the person who led the team who put together a response to send back to these aliens via radio wave And yes right in the manuscript itself Sawyer addresses the fanboys who are tempted to shout Dude that's the same storyline as Carl Sagan's Contact Which of course is part of the problem; if your project is so similar in storyline to a famous one that you actually have to address it in your own book that's a sign that you should rethink your premise to begin with They've been waiting 25 years for the response to even get to this foreign planet and then another 25 years for whatever response the aliens might have of their own; and sure enough a new response has just been received at the opening of the novel but with the couple now too old and frail to be working on a response team again full timeIn steps this eccentric trillionaire entrepreneur then who simply must have the brilliant woman on the team trying to figure out why the aliens have responded the way they have; so much so in fact that he is willing to pay the billions of dollars needed to have the woman's entire physical body rolled back to a state of youth through an ingenious combination of surgery therapy genetic manipulation and other near future medical subjects actually being worked on by doctors of today Oh and her husband gets rolled back too because she insists on it Which is where the big problem comes; because apparently the experimental nature of all this was never fully emphasized to the couple with the husband's rollback procedure taking but hers failing leaving her as the same 80 year old as before but him now a strapping lad of 25 with bulging muscles and a perpetual erection And thus do conflicts arise between the two; and thus does the husband suddenly encounter unexpected instances of ageism in society ala Black Like Me; and thus does the woman keep working on figuring out why these space aliens have sent back as their response what seems to be a round of the party game Scruples a bunch of ambiguous uestions about human ethics for which the team doesn't uite know how to respondIt's not too bad a premise I suppose although treads heavily on the same We Can Make A New You ground already made famous by such so called Web 20 writers as Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross; the biggest problem though is that Sawyer just never manages to pull the entire thing together into a cohesive entertaining story but instead presents us a bunch of parts pulled from all over the place that reflect the fact that they were pulled from all over the place Like Sawyer has a bad habit here of falling into that trap so many near future authors fall into of overexplaining the real technology behind their near future speculations of citing actual authors and articles within the text and turning the whole thing into a Wikipedia entry than a gripping novel At the same time though Sawyer makes beginning writing mistakes when addressing the subject of this husband actually rolling back to an earlier physical state; throughout the manuscript Sawyer seems to argue that even the man's mindset would revert back to that of a horny immature 16 year old simply by reverting his body to such a stateThat really bothered me about this book to tell you the truth that instead of Sawyer exploring the fascinating issue of putting all the wisdom and experience of a 80 year old into a 25 year old's body he instead relies too much on this reverted teenage mental state to provide all the drama inherent in the plotline In fact the moment I stopped reading was the moment this rejuvenated male decided to have an affair with a college student knowing full well how devastated his 80 year old wife was over this entire situation in the first place but not caring because of currently having the righteous boner of a sex starved undergraduate It really bothered me that such a character would so carelessly throw away half a century of marriage with a woman currently on the brink of mental collapse as it is merely because he wants some uick sex with some anonymous 20 year old That's not only inconsistent with what had already been established about these characters and their relationship it's insulting to the natural intelligence of the reader; and Rollback is unfortunately full of such moments dozens of them that will make the smart reader pause and say Now wait just a freaking minute here Robert J Freaking SawyerYou know that part in the early '80s Disney movie Tron where Jeff Bridges discovers that he can hold one of the otherworldly ships together just through his mind alone? But he gets in a busted ship that keeps threatening to fall apart on him? And he keeps throwing his hands out in the air and wiggling them as if to say Hold together damn you HOLD TOGETHER? Yeah that's how I felt when reading Rollback a collection of interesting ideas that unfortunately never does coalesce into an enjoyable reading experience I'm certainly willing to give Sawyer the benefit of a doubt here since this was my first book of his and to assume for now that this is merely one clunker out of an otherwise outstanding career; unfortunately though it's a clunker nonetheless one I'm surprised got nominated for the Hugo in the first place Out of 10Story 45Characters 56Style 76Overall 61


  8. The other John The other John says:

    An interesting tale about an 87 year old man who receives the gift of rejuvenation The biggest problem was that it really wasn't intended for him The year is 2048 Thirty eight years earlier Earth had received the first ever radio transmission from another world Many folks puzzled over the message trying to figure it out but it was Dr Sarah Halifax who made the breakthrough and allowed Earth to understand the message and respond Now the second message has arrived and the main financier of the SETI project is certain that Dr Halifax who is also 87 is the person not only to decode the latest transmission but also to maintain a dialogue with the aliens He's so certain of this that he's willing to fund Dr Halifax's rejuvenation an obscenely expensive procedure called a rollback She agrees to do it on the condition that her husband Don receive the procedure too Mr Moneybags agrees and the rollbacks are begun The problem is while Don regresses to a physical age of 25 the procedure doesn't work on Sarah What follows is the tale of a man facing a second chance at life in a world where he no longer fits in with his rapidly disappearing peer group Intertwined with all this is the story of the alien messages It's wonderfully written as one expects from Mr Sawyer I think I especially clicked with the tale because I'm roughly the same age as the lead characters that is I was born in the same era and I could relate to a lot of their reminiscing But no matter what age you may be this book's well worth checking out


  9. Glennie Glennie says:

    First contact is made with an alien race on a star far away Scientist who made the discovery is given an age rollback to make her younger so she won't die before second contact is made The treatment doesn't work Things get sticky after that It was OK Lots of cuddly human interest wrapped into what could have been a harder SciFi treatment


  10. prcardi prcardi says:

    Storyline 15Characters 25Writing Style 25World 25I think that Sawyer can best be appreciated by a very particular audience Canadians that watch a lot of television and who do not have much science fiction reading experience Take the Canadian thing first It is obvious that Sawyer thinks Canada is great and wants everyone to know it It is not a bad book strategy that appeal to the vanity and familiarity of readers I know I get a particular delight from reading about places that I’ve lived buildings I’ve visited or events that I might have attended Sawyer’s love however simply isn’t infectious His guided tour is long winded and dry and lacks discernment as to which facts and information are worth sharing Further I don’t have much experience with Canada so all the nostalgia and name dropping is lost on me The television watcher I’ve yet to read a Sawyer book that did not seem like it was written for television And I mean 1980s and 90s type television shows where the budget was cheap the dramas resembled the soap operas and the scripts were just awful I did grow up with that; I remember how the sensationalism and drama can be addictive and arresting But I can also look back on it and realize it was mostly melodrama when it wasn’t simple Sawyer’s success with drama here was not a good one He gets the distinction of writing what is perhaps the most pathetic love story I’ve ever read And even the better parts were bits of anticipation as you watched characters making unbelievably stupid decisions Not at all out of place in 80s and 90s television but unwelcome in a book in the 2000s Also though this might have 313 pages I’d really like to see a wordcount It felt like it could have been printed on less than half that number of pages The science fiction novice Sawyer is great with hooks And they’re undeniably science fiction hooks provocative uestions events or technologies that immediately make one want to know And Sawyer finds ways to slip in theories and technologies into what are oftentimes very grounded simple stories that vary very little from our everyday life The treatment of those science fiction ideas here as well as with his other books is usually superficial however So he can introduce and can have solved the Fermi paradox in a paragraph He can explain SETI how it is misunderstood and the right way to think about it in even less space There’s something very easy and gentle about this Just right for a novice science fiction reader Those experienced with the philosophies theories technologies and big uestions are bound to find Sawyer’s treatment of the issues wantingI’ll give Sawyer credit This is my eighth novel of his and he is remarkably consistent He obviously has a dedicated fanbase and following Many people read this and liked it I did not So how to explain his fandom? Could they all be Canadians that watch a lot of television and who do not have much science fiction reading experience? Feel free to comment and explain how I'm wrong and what I’m missing


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