Reviews of Eater (2000)
Review by tollbaby (2006-01-21)
At times, the mathematics and astronomy threaten to engulf this story, but Benford's utterly sympathetic and human characters rescue us from becoming bogged down in science and fact. Benjamin and Channing struggle through Channing's final few months until one of Benjamin's assistants discovers "Eater", a seemingly-sentient black hole.
The fear and sorrow are palpable as the countdown to Eater's arrival elapses, and scientists and politicians around the world discover (to their dismay) what it is that Eater wants.
While hard science can often dry out a good story, in this case, Benford's knowledge of the subject and the setting in which the characters are placed simply make the science an integral part of the story. It's a fascinating subject, and an entirely frightful set of possibilities. I really enjoyed the fact that the science was presented in an honest, straightforward manner without seeming to have been dumbed down too much, and wasn't hidden in a bunch of pseudo-jargon.
I actually felt pretty smart once I'd finished this book - mostly hard science fiction books leave me feeling clueless and frustrated. I strongly recommend this one - reminsicent of 2001: Space Odyssey.