Tau Zero Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Tau Zero

A starship is about to depart for a nearby star with colonists and crew aboard. One of the crew (a female) and the ship's constable form a brief liaison, but both put their duties first. The ship leaves but after some time a technical problem prevents them from decelerating in time to rendezvous with their target planet.
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The constable becomes the de facto leader of the expedition and maintains a strong belief that they can not only survive but somehow find an alternative destination. He encourages the rest of the people on board, but the plan involves them continuing to accelerate. Because of time dilation their journey becomes ever longer relative to Earth. Several attempts to slow down have to be aborted because they cannot be sure of finding a suitable destination, and meanwhile their speed increases at a faster rate. Many of the crew and colonists fall into deep depression because they can see not future beyond flying through space until their resources are exhausted.

Eventually they are going so fast that they watch the end of the universe approaching: stars dying and not being replaced, the whole cosmos becoming cold and dark. They conceive of one final plan to survive. Will it work?
The review of this Book prepared by Alan Tompkins

Chapter Analysis of Tau Zero

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 10%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 50% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   lost in spaceship Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's


Takes place in spaceship?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   no torture/death Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Poul Anderson Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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