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Brain Wave (1954)

de Poul Anderson

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaConversas / Menções
8612125,651 (3.5)1 / 40
From the multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author: "A panoramic story of what happens to a world gone super intelligent" (Astounding Science Fiction).   With "wonderfully logical detail . . . exciting storytelling and moving characterization" (Anthony Boucher), science fiction master Poul Anderson explores what happens when the next stage of evolution is thrust upon humanity and animals. As Earth passes out of a magnetic field that has suppressed intelligence for eons, the mental capacity for all mammals increases exponentially, radically changing the structures of society.   A mentally impaired farm worker finds himself capable of more delicate and intelligent thoughts than he ever dreamed. A young boy on holiday manages to discern the foundations of calculus before breakfast. Animals that were seen as livestock and pets can now communicate clearly with their owners and one another. And an already brilliant physics researcher now uses his boundless intellect to bring humankind to the stars--even as his wife plunges into an existential crisis. For all of them, the world will never be the same . . .  … (mais)
  1. 20
    The Tommyknockers de Stephen King (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: King references Brain Wave in The Tommyknockers and with good reasons. Both books deal (in part) with people whose intelligence is suddenly and unexpectedly increased dramatically.
  2. 10
    Flowers for Algernon de Daniel Keyes (aspirit)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 20 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
What happens if all brains (human and animal) started functioning on an enhanced level, overnight? Who will survive? And who cannot survive? This story is so "large" in concept that it begs for an expansion that probably will never be written. It's been 14 years since I last read it, and at least 40 since I first read it, and it's even more intriguing now than ever. I can't comprehend how it only rates an average of 3.5 star. ( )
  majackson | Sep 7, 2020 |
Great concept, troubling conclusions. I mean, isn't this what a lot of great SF is all about? A great idea to explore and get really excited about, coupled with a great story for the personal impact?

We've got half of this. I almost squeed like a little girl with the idea that EVERYTHING on the planet got intelligent practically overnight. All the animals jumped in intelligence as well as all the people. We've got the ultimate What If, laying the foundation for the later brilliant book by Keyes, [b:Flowers for Algernon|18373|Flowers for Algernon|Daniel Keyes|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1367141311s/18373.jpg|3337594] or even the Smart Barkley in ST:TNG to a fairly epic level right off the bat, even laying the epic foundation for Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought, the places in the galaxy where intelligence slows or speeds up to godlike levels depending on where you are, praying that you remain safe.

So what's my problem? Nothing too extreme, but each piles up and annoys until I just had to drop a few stars. Probably the worst is just a feature of 1950 when this came out, namely the assumption and portrayal of women being idiots or lazy or hopelessly enamoured and stymied because of inaccessible men. It drives me crazy. It also happened in Poul Anderson's Tau Zero, which was also a great novel in all respects except this.

Smaller issues? Oh, like the assumption that with great intelligence the desire to prolong your own survival goes away. You know, like maintaining simple commerce or getting things done. I mean, come on, don't you think that if we got smarter we'd see right through that bullshit and roll up our sleeves? I mean, if everyone has broken the scale in intelligence, it's not like there would be anyone TO EXPLOIT. It should be a no brainer that if you want to survive, then get to work.

Oh yeah, and desiring to return to the way things were before? Good grief. Intelligence does not equal unhappiness. I could make a good case that unhappiness in the very intelligent comes from being alone and unfulfilled. So what if the new standard is higher across the board? It means that we're all in the same boat as before, still needing to find meaning and connection in our lives. It doesn't change just because of our IQ.

Other than that, I do think the basic premise is pretty damn awesome and I'd love to see a whole team of authors from all over the world try to tackle this issue seriously and creatively, not just an admittedly awesome author writing from 1950 from a narrow cultural viewpoint.

I'd love to see what everyone else might come up with, because the idea is still fantastic and there can be a ton of really great play, here. :)

I might even say that this novel deserves a full 5 stars just for the concept and its robust beauty and how it continues to spark the imagination. :)

...But the story kinda drags it down, alas. Ooh, the opportunity! ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Fun read about a world where suddenly every creature becomes a factor more intelligent. More than science this novel is about culture and society. How do animals of varying intelligence, and humans from different backgrounds, react? How does this change the relationship between humans and animals? Does civilized society become more structured or disordered? What happens to science, philosophy and religion?

These are the questions Brain Wave asks, and they are important ones. At less than 200 pages and always captivating, this novel could easily have been extended. As it is, I still consider it a remarkable work by a great storyteller. ( )
  jigarpatel | Apr 9, 2019 |
I read this many years ago during a week-long vacation at my grandma's, and I recall sneaking out every afternoon to the library to read another chapter or two. I was a teenager, so I can't vouch for the quality of the writing with my current understanding, but I can say that the core of the story has remained with me until today, and every now and then I recall aspects of it. It was a fascinating read.

If a more modern reference may help others what to expect, I could say that the short story "Understand" by Ted Chiang (of "Story of Your Life"/"Arrival" fame) was quite reminiscent of this book, for me. ( )
  Waldir | Jun 12, 2018 |
I thought this was a book from the late 70's and was surprised to find it dates originally to 1954. The concept of the story is really out there - all life on earth has had intelligence suppressed because of a field the solar system has been passing through while we rotate around the galaxy. Now we are moving out of it and then, one day, it no longer is influencing the planet. This is intelligently written science fiction from the golden age. The story clearly is set in the 50's and it feels 50ish but tries I think to rise above that to a more modern way - the 50's elements seen from now are like reading historical fiction whereas the story itself tries to stretch to bigger ideas. It can't quite do that since among other things it has a guy smoking a cigar on a starship.

The story plays out better than I expected as mankind worldwide (and animalkind worldwide!) deals with a huge growing boost in intelligence. There was a lot of gobbledygook here and there and the attempts for a scientific explanation of why intelligence had been suppressed was pretty silly to me. What I liked were some of the personal stories of how people reacted to a changed mental state and how the world was going to change. This part of the book, the bulk of it, was hit and miss - the story revolving around the man attempting to keep running a farm I liked a lot - glimpses of other people were intriguing - the New York City stuff, and the central focus on a particular scientist pretty much not interesting at all.

We could have a lot of fun with animals throwing off the yoke and taking on man. There is a bit of fun like that but the story primarily goes other ways. So there's no rise of the rats, or insect takeovers or good dogs gone bad. This book gets an OK from me. I did like the ending. ( )
  RBeffa | Jun 15, 2016 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 20 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
... ein einfühlsames und mitreißendes Buch und ein Klassiker der jüngeren Science Fiction
adicionado por rat_in_a_cage | editarNachwort, Hans Joachim Alpers
 

» Adicionar outros autores

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Anderson, Poulautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Aldiss, Brian WIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Alpers, Hans JoachimPosfácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Bergner, Wulf H.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Dollens, Morris ScottArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Glaus, PeterTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kirkland,PhilArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lehr, PaulArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Powers, Richard M.Cover Artistautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Sannes, SanneArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Wöllzenmüller, FranzDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Weerlee, Duco vanTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
White, TimArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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From the multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author: "A panoramic story of what happens to a world gone super intelligent" (Astounding Science Fiction).   With "wonderfully logical detail . . . exciting storytelling and moving characterization" (Anthony Boucher), science fiction master Poul Anderson explores what happens when the next stage of evolution is thrust upon humanity and animals. As Earth passes out of a magnetic field that has suppressed intelligence for eons, the mental capacity for all mammals increases exponentially, radically changing the structures of society.   A mentally impaired farm worker finds himself capable of more delicate and intelligent thoughts than he ever dreamed. A young boy on holiday manages to discern the foundations of calculus before breakfast. Animals that were seen as livestock and pets can now communicate clearly with their owners and one another. And an already brilliant physics researcher now uses his boundless intellect to bring humankind to the stars--even as his wife plunges into an existential crisis. For all of them, the world will never be the same . . .  

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