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Mass Market Paperback Berserker Book

ISBN: 0441054951

ISBN13: 9780441054954


(Book #1 in the Berserker Series)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

Long ago, in a distant part of the galaxy, two alien races met--and fought a war of mutual extinction. The sole legacy of that war was the weapon that ended it: the death machines, the BERSERKERS. Guided by self-aware computers more intelligent than any human, these world-sized battlecraft carved a swath of death through the galaxy--until they arrived at the outskirts of the fledgling Empire of Man. These are the stories of the frail creatures...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A direct ancestor to Star Trek's Borg and the Matrix

Fred Saberhagen, in the first book of the Berserker series, introduces us to an unstoppable enemy to whom life itself is irrelevant. This collection of stories on a common theme predates the Terminator, the Borg and the Matrix by at least 30 years, and presents the idea of man's triumph over machines in a high-energy format which borders on the positive side of the classic pulp magazines. If you REALLY want to see the man vs. machine conflict dealt with in an original way, get this book NOW.

Quite excellent

Berserker is a true classic. The theme of humanity fighting machines has been used many different times: in the fiction of Gregory Benford and Greg Bear; in television shows like Star Trek; and in movies like the Matrix and the Terminator. It is refreshing to read one of the earliest versions of this story because Saberhagen's writing - which was doubtlessly an inspiration to others pursuing similar stories - remains distinct and his stories unique.The structure of this Berserker book is a bit loose - it has perhaps 10 stories bracketed by the narration of an alien historian (whose introduction to the book is one of its finest parts). This narration has an intentionally Homeric effect - Saberhagen clearly had Greek epics in mind. Some of his characters recall figures in Greek mythology: the stoic Johann Karlsen, the vengeful Hemphill, and the vain Felipe Nogara.The stories themselves are very well-crafted. Saberhagen applies an admirable minimalism when writing, though at times he will indulge in descriptive prose (most notably in the excellent final story). Humanity is depicted with both its flaws and virtues, as the struggle against the Berserkers brings out the best and worst in us. Other reviewers disliked the loose structure - I rather liked it. Novels can often tightly confine their worlds and limit them. These somewhat connected stories hint at a much larger and grander story arc with all manners of other untold stories. Finally, if you stumble on the audio edition of this, I would strongly recommend it. The narrator who handles the Campan historian is excellent; the second narrators rendition of the voices of Berserkers is truly chilling.

This is a must-read for Sci-Fi fans.

This week I read "Berserker" by Fred Saberhagen. If you are a "Star Wars" fan, you will hate this book. Originally written in 1967, it contains most of the plots that George Lucas "adapted" for his well-known movies. What Lucas didn't manage to capture was Saberhagen's direct, no-nonsense style. His ideas are unique and fresh, even after all these years.The big thing he does that many sci-fi authors fail to do is he creates believable technology that withstands the march of time. I think the key is: he doesn't explain _how_ the technology works, just _what_ it does. I plan to continue reading works by this author until I have read them all, and then start over again.

original and fast-paced storytelling....

....of a time when humanity fights to the death with Berserkers, the automated killing machines left from some ancient interstellar war. Exciting short stories with interesting plots...and characters true to this alien telepath's remark about us: "Under this burden some men became like brutes, and the minds of others grew to be as terrible and implacable as the machines they fought against. But I have touched a few rare human minds, the jewels of life, who rise to meet the greatest challenges by becoming supremely men."Long live Johann Karlsen!

Excellent, diverse, clever, and very original.

This is book is well ahead of it's time. The author's writing style is original, and refreshing. If you like sci-fi but are dissapointed with the lack of depth of most sci-fi novels this is the book for you.
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