Tau Zero, Paperback
4 out of 5 (7 ratings)


Fifty men and women set out in the twenty-third century from Earth aboard an interstellar craft to travel to a planet some thirty light-years away.

The ship will approach the speed of light and so (as Einstein predicted) subjective time on board will slow and so the journey of several decades will be of much shorter duration for the crew.

But the ship's deceleration system is irreparably damaged when it hits a cloud of interstellar dust and acceleration continues toward light speed, tau zero.

Soon the ship is speeding through galaxies and eons are passing on board the ship in the blink of an eye ...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Science fiction
  • ISBN: 9780575077324



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Showing 1 - 5 of 7 reviews.

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Review by

One of the all time greats in hard SF writing. Lots of technical and theoretical science combined with raw human emotion. The unbelievable ending has to be read to be believed.

Review by

A group of people discover that the only way of getting out of a tough spot is to struggle their way into an even tougher position. And tougher, and...

Review by

Hard SF of the old school. Nearly-as-fast-as-light spaceship is damaged and unable to slow down, so must keep accelerating, which is an interesting hook for discussing the effects of those speeds. In a sign of its times, the novel is as much concerned with the effect on the crew, who are a mixed and fragile bunch and not all emotionless scientists. Unfortunately the female characters, although theoretically equally skilled specialists, are only important in the novel for who they sleep with.

Review by

A great premise - an ever-accelerating starship ricocheting around the galaxy, with its crew watching as everything they have ever known vanishes in the blur of time around them- mixing hard science with a thoughtful examination of the crew's psyches. Sure, there's a certain stodginess of presentation, and the author's attempts to write rounded characters don't always work (particularly with his female characters, though there's much to admire on that front as well), but it's an intelligent and interesting book nevertheless.

Review by

Tau Zero is definitely hard SF. Normally that isn't my thing, when it comes at the cost of good characters and emotional involvement, but I think there is a genuine effort to explore what happens in the situation <I>caused</i> by the hard SF plot.The characters aren't deeply detailed or anything, but some relationship dynamics are explored, and what interested me a lot was a sort of tacit acknowledgement of polyamory throughout -- with the ending saying quite clearly that in their situation, it's not only desirable but necessary, which... Might detract from that, it might not, depending on how you view it. Still, non-typical relationships, sexual freedom for women -- go Poul Anderson.Definitely more one for the hard SF fans, though.

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