HEART OF THE COMET

by GREGORY BENFORD and DAVID BRIN

"He that leaveth nothing to chance will do few things ill, but he will do very few things." — Halifax


watch the book trailer for Heart of the Comet

Watch the preview book trailer, featuring cover artwork by Patrick Farley, Bob Eggleton, and Fred Gambino, as well as fascinating NASA images.


DAVID BRIN's Heart of the Comet

Bantam, 1986

Read the first 5 chapters online, or scroll down to purchase HEART OF THE COMET.


the lone wanderer returns

"He had always been a problem-solver, a man who reflexively reacted to the unknown by breaking it into understandable pieces. Then Carl would carefully solve each small puzzle, confident that the sum of such microproblems would finally resolve the larger confusions." — Heart of the Comet

It is 2065, and a regular visitor makes its long-awaited dive toward the sun in a 75 year cycle. Only this time, Halley's Comet is met by an ambitious expedition, using the great fuming ball of gas, dust and ice as a natural spaceship to "hitch a ride" through the solar system. The scientific and commercial enterprise aims to herd the valuable object into a close orbit to Earth, for disassembly into resources to make the world rich again.

Only, nature and luck intervene. Soon a mysterious virus decimates the crew. Other life-forms, from a genetic heritage separated from ours by a billion years, begin a rough, sometimes deadly "negotiation" with the bodies of the human settlers, stoking stress between their already volatile factions. Conflicts explode as panicky orthos — unmodified humans — blame those expedition members who are genetically enhanced "Percells."

Against this background, the novel highlights a love triangle between ortho biologist Saul, who helped create the Percells, and Percell computer engineer Virginia (whose biologically-based computer just might possess genuine artificial intelligence)... and crewman Carl, whose steadfast courage might hold the key to survival.

And... perhaps... something far more than mere survival.

Heart of the Comet tells the story of an ambitious manned mission to visit the comet and alter its orbit in order to mine it for resources. The discoveries soon include a deadly viral lifeform that decimates the crew.


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Powell's US: paperback


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Skyboat US: audiobook (unabridged)


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more about Heart of the Comet

the return of a classic

After many years out of print, co-authors Gregory Benford and David Brin have revised and re-issued their bold novel about our near-future in space, when we plant our boots — and stake our destiny — on becoming the people of the comet.

Prescient and scientifically-accurate, Heart of the Comet was known as one of the great "hard sf" novels of the 1980s. The novel, first published in 1986, coincided with the last return visit of Comet Halley to Earth.


foreign-language editions

Here are some of the covers of Heart of the Comet's foreign and foreign-language publications.

Heart of the Comet's foreign editions

Here are the covers of Heart of the Comet's Japanese edition.

Heart of the Comet's Japanese edition covers

Heart of the Comet on video


Heart of the Comet in the world

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    Queries about film or media rights to any DAVID BRIN books or stories can be addressed to his film agent:
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    Heart of the Comet reviews

    Los Angeles Times

    "A literary conjunction of two of the brightest stars in the science-fiction firmament. In Heart of the Comet, we have it all, the techno-props and accurate physics and biology of John W. Campbell, the heroic battles with outrageous monsters of Robert E. Howard, the insights into seething human perversity of J.G. Ballard and Thomas M. Disch, the characterizational depth of Theodore Sturgeon, all of it wrapped in a scientifically plausible and entertaining package that should not be missed. Heart of the Comet should be on everyone's award ballot."

    Chicago Tribune

    "Heart of the Comet may well be the masterpiece of the (hard science) movement ... this book is what science fiction is."

    San Diego Union

    "Better than Dune.... Tremendously imaginative ... a breathtaking effort from two of science fiction's brightest stars."

    The Atlanta Constitution

    "This is hard science fiction at its best."

    Locus

    "A magnificent effort ... these two gifted authors have managed to tell a story that is as realistic, gritty, and profoundly moving as any within recent memory ... their story gets better, and better, and better."

    The Indianapolis News

    "Heart of the Comet soars into uncharted territory ... an exciting tale of man's ability to cope and adapt in the face of overwhelming odds."


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    DAVID BRIN author

    novels

    David Brin's science fiction novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages. They range from bold and prophetic explorations of our near-future to Brin's Uplift series, envisioning galactic issues of sapience and destiny (and star-faring dolphins!). Learn More


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    Short stories and novellas have different rhythms and artistic flavor, and Brin's short stories and novellas, several of which earned Hugo and other awards, exploit that difference to explore a wider range of real and vividly speculative ideas. Many have been selected for anthologies and reprints, and most have been published in anthology form. Learn More


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    David Brin's Ph.D in Physics from the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. Every science show that depicts a comet now portrays the model developed in Brin's PhD research. Learn More


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    Brin speaks plausibly and entertainingly about trends in technology and society to audiences willing to confront the challenges that our rambunctious civilization will face in the decades ahead. He also talks about the field of science fiction, especially in relation to his own novels and stories. To date he has presented at more than 200 meetings, conferences, corporate retreats and other gatherings.Learn More


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    Brin advises corporations and governmental and private defense- and security-related agencies about information-age issues, scientific trends, future social and political trends, and education. Urban Developer Magazine named him one of four World's Best Futurists, and he was appraised as "#1 influencer" in Onalytica's Top 100 report of Artificial Intelligence influencers, brands & publications. Past consultations include Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Learn More


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    Vernor Vinge

    "More than any writer I know, David Brin can take scary, important problems and turn them sideways, revealing wonderful opportunities. This talent shows strongly in Kiln People, a novel which is deep and insightful and often hilarious, all at the same time."

    praise for Glory Season

    "Brin's canny sensitivity about the complexities of human nature transcends gender barriers in a novel that is not so much about 'women's issues' as the necessity for change and variability. As in Earth, the author demonstrates his ability to empathize with all his characters. This complex and gripping tale belongs in most libraries."
    — Library Journal

    Zimmer-Gunsel-Frasca Partnership

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    Science News

    "Brin expounds upon his belief that people need to keep watch on snooping governments, employers, insurance companies, and so on.... In assessing the current state of affairs, Brin divulges a barrage of ways and means of monitoring electronic transmissions."