Sleeping Giants

Sleeping Giants

Book - 2016
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"17 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. A swift and spellbinding tale told almost exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character, this is a unique debut that describes a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Del Rey,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101886694
Characteristics: 304 pages ; 25 cm


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Dec 22, 2017

I enjoyed the unique format of the book - the majority of the narrative is told in interviews and journals, and was very taken by the central mystery. It definitely reads like it's about to be made into a movie (but hopefully not by Michael Bay as the commenter below me stated lol).

Sep 26, 2017

mixed feelings. Probably would make a better Michael Bay film than a book. The amount of boring exposition is countless.

profdavis Sep 06, 2017

A group of scientists and military types race to uncover the pieces of a giant alien robot buried on Earth thousands of years in the past. The novel is reminiscent of The Martian in the sense that it is almost entirely dialogue driven, and the plot is propelled by various successes and setbacks in the project. The story is told in the form of short interviews between the main characters and a mysterious shadowy figure who is the mastermind behind the project.
If you enjoyed The Martian you will likely enjoy this as well. It is science fiction as thriller, not exactly literary.

WPLBookClub Sep 03, 2017

The Whistler Public Library and Armchair Books Community Book Club read "Sleeping Giants" in August 2017. This was not a crowd favourite, but we had a great discussion despite - or because of! - that fact. We had two members who chose not to finish the book because of the format, while others thought that the interview/dialogue style made it quite obvious that the author was angling for a movie deal. On the positive side, we enjoyed how much speculation this novel allowed: if Themis was left by an alien race, what were they like? What was the purpose of scattering the body parts all over earth? Why two pilots? I think most of us will be picking up the sequel, WAKING GODS, in the hope that some of these questions will be answered!

We particularly enjoyed discussing:
- The "Mystery Man" (in the tradition of Cancer Man from The X-Files) - this character was by far the most intriguing, and although Dr. Franklin is set up as the obvious protagonist, it seems like Neuvel goes to more trouble to keep us interested in this shadowy figure.
- Deus Ex Machina - there are many (perhaps too many) conveniences in this novel. Could they have been handled differently to make the story line more believable?
- Sleeping Giants as a movie - would this story make a better film than book, and why?

SCL_Justin Aug 18, 2017

I wanted to like Sleeping Giants (by Sylvain Neuvel). It’s about discovering parts of a giant robot that have been buried on earth for 3000 years and putting them together to see what happens. It’s told in the form of a series of reports, mostly interviews with the principals.

At first that format worked out okay and I thought we’d be getting into a cool Arrival or Three-Body Problem-esque story of communicating with aliens in this case through artifacts. But by a third of the way in I realized this was actually trying to be Pacific Rim.

Now, I liked Pacific Rim, but it was an action movie. Trying to tell an action movie type story through the distancing effect of interviews (throughout which the interviewer is a powerful “shadowy figure” who’s supposed to be intriguing but is massively overexposed and unrealistic for that) was a bad fit. And the interviews were too directly “transcripts” instead of the faux-oral history style that lets you get what happened in instead of people telling each other what happened. And then despite the “official reports” veneer the author was satisfied with a ridiculously superficial portrayal of how organizations work. That portrayal would work fine in a big dumb action movie, but it feels like such a mismatch with a slow sci-fi novel with absolutely no showing and all telling.

If those kinds of issues wouldn’t bother you, then it’d be an okay book.

Jul 07, 2017

When Rose was a young girl she fell into a hole in the ground and landed on a mysterious, giant metal hand. Now she is a physicist leading a team that is studying the hand, and searching for other pieces of what may be a large robot. Told through journal entries, mission logs, interview transcripts, and newspaper articles, this science fiction mystery will have you turning pages as you follow the mystery of the giant robot, how it works, where it came from, and what it all means for humanity and the world. Sleeping Giants is the first book in the Themis Files series by Sylvain Neuvel.

Jun 26, 2017

I liked the first one better, but this one was still really good. Fast-paced, tension and mystery.

May 08, 2017

I really liked this book, great story, interesting characters. But the interview/journal format was off-putting. Over and over again, I found myself wishing it had been written in traditional novel format...especially during the high-action ending. We didn't get to be there for that, we only heard about it third-hand.

Apr 30, 2017

In this modern science fiction novel, humans discover giant robots buried deep underground. Mystery and political intrigue result when scientists attempt to locate all the robots, figure out how they work, and ponder where they came from. Told via a series of disjointed interview transcripts and journal entries, the narrative moves along swiftly, but left me feeling disconnected from the characters. On the plus side, most of the interviews are conducted by a powerful sinister nameless man who reminds me of a certain character in the early X-Files television episodes!

ehbooklover Apr 29, 2017

This was a gripping read that I finished in just one day. The premise was exciting and I liked the different characters. I also really loved how this story was told using interviews, articles, experiment logs, and journal entries. I am putting myself on hold for the next book in the series immediately.

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Apr 13, 2017

“Family has a way of bringing out the worst in people. Every people.”

Apr 13, 2017

“It would make things easier for both of us, especially for you, if we could forgo the part of this conversation where you take me for a complete idiot...”


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SPL_Robyn May 28, 2016

When one thinks of the genre science fiction, one’s mind may jump towards space, the future, flying cars or galaxies far, far away. Sleeping Giants is definitely science fiction, yet it contains few of these traditional sci-fi elements, and those it does contain are almost tangential to the story. There may be humanoid aliens, but we don’t meet them. There may be a weapon of mass destruction, but it may not have been intended for such a purpose. There may be government and military conspiracies to hide the truth, but the truth is outed… and there definitely is a shadowy person pulling strings in many directions.

Resemblance to The X-Files in the above description is purely intentional. What we have here is a sci-fi political thriller, set in the here and now but with ties to ancient history, told in interviews, excerpts, episodes and military reports – a style that keeps the pace clipping along, allowing periods of time to pass (and certain US elections to be held) without being bogged down.

A young girl falls down a large hole and when found appears to be sitting in the palm of an enormous had, glowing with aquamarine veins. She grows up to be a physicist and is recruited with a team of pilots, linguists and other personnel to unravel the secrets of the hand, and other body parts discovered around the globe. The questions she and her team unearth are the big ones – are we alone in the universe? Who can humanity really trust with the secrets of the universe? When does the quest for scientific progress outweigh the need for human care?

It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel, and Neuvel leaves a truly tantalizing thread at the end that will leave readers drooling for a sequel. Then again, speculation is fascinating too, in case a sequel never comes. ~RG


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