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For 60,000 years the five races of the Galactic Milieu have waited for the time when human mental development on Earth is ready for intervention. As the 20th century draws to its end, phenomenal mental powers are displayed by "operants" on Earth. One of these is Rogatien Remillar, book dealer. For 60,000 years the five races of the Galactic Milieu have waited for the time when human mental development on Earth is ready for intervention. As the 20th century draws to its end, phenomenal mental powers are displayed by "operants" on Earth. One of these is Rogatien Remillar, book dealer.


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For 60,000 years the five races of the Galactic Milieu have waited for the time when human mental development on Earth is ready for intervention. As the 20th century draws to its end, phenomenal mental powers are displayed by "operants" on Earth. One of these is Rogatien Remillar, book dealer. For 60,000 years the five races of the Galactic Milieu have waited for the time when human mental development on Earth is ready for intervention. As the 20th century draws to its end, phenomenal mental powers are displayed by "operants" on Earth. One of these is Rogatien Remillar, book dealer.

30 review for Surveillance

  1. 5 out of 5

    AndrewP

    Another book that was split into two by some publishers. The two volume edition consists of Surveillance and Metaconcert. As one volume they were published under the title Intervention. This first book covers the early days when mental powers first began to emerge in human beings. The title is in regard to the alien races who observe the Earth and keep track of humanity's progress. They know that the humans have a great potential, but they must be allowed to reach a certain point of development o Another book that was split into two by some publishers. The two volume edition consists of Surveillance and Metaconcert. As one volume they were published under the title Intervention. This first book covers the early days when mental powers first began to emerge in human beings. The title is in regard to the alien races who observe the Earth and keep track of humanity's progress. They know that the humans have a great potential, but they must be allowed to reach a certain point of development on their own, before being invited into the galactic fold. That's not to say they are above influencing events now and again. It's also a history of the early Remillard family before the birth of Marc and Jack. (The family tree at the end of the book was very useful.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lacey Louwagie

    I first discovered Julian May about three or four years ago, when I picked up "Jack the Bodiless," Book 1 in the "Galactic Milieu Trilogy." I thought, "Fantastic! Book one! I can start at the beginning!" But after I was already well into Jack the Bodiless, I learned that it was the beginning of a trilogy that, in fact, was built upon earlier series. So, it wasn't exactly a Book 1 in the strictest sense. I hunted down and purchased both the sequels and the two books that came before "Jack the Bodi I first discovered Julian May about three or four years ago, when I picked up "Jack the Bodiless," Book 1 in the "Galactic Milieu Trilogy." I thought, "Fantastic! Book one! I can start at the beginning!" But after I was already well into Jack the Bodiless, I learned that it was the beginning of a trilogy that, in fact, was built upon earlier series. So, it wasn't exactly a Book 1 in the strictest sense. I hunted down and purchased both the sequels and the two books that came before "Jack the Bodiless." "Surveillance" is the first of those two books. Surveillance is also described as one of the "bridge" books between an earlier trilogy and the Galactic Milieu, and unfortunately, it doesn't feel like much more than a bridge. Whereas "Jack the Bodiless" got rather up close and personal with the central characters, "Surveillance" feels a bit like a wide angle shot, sometimes too wide. While all the different characters and scenarios may be important to later books, they make this one suffer from a lack of focus. If you were to ask me to summarize the plot of this book, the best I could say is, "It's about the rise of people with psychic minds," or something like that. The book held my interest well enough because I was interested in the world created in "Jack the Bodiless," and Julian May is one of those sci-fi writers who doesn't sacrifice character for plot. But if I hadn't already read her later books, I may not have checked them out based on this sampling alone.

  3. 4 out of 5

    John Devlin

    Simply the best space opera, and the best series of novels I've ever read. This is the first of the nine, and while the last three show signs of fatigue, these novels capture a cast of characters, and one in Marc Remillard, that are truly memorable. From the worlds and milieu May imagines to her evocative themes, the novels capture humanity with all its foibles and promise, and if you stick around for #6, you'll get the best plot twist in all of bookdom. Simply the best space opera, and the best series of novels I've ever read. This is the first of the nine, and while the last three show signs of fatigue, these novels capture a cast of characters, and one in Marc Remillard, that are truly memorable. From the worlds and milieu May imagines to her evocative themes, the novels capture humanity with all its foibles and promise, and if you stick around for #6, you'll get the best plot twist in all of bookdom.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris Branch

    While this and the subsequent Metaconcert are clearly a prologue to the upcoming main events of the later books, this story serves the purpose well, taking the reader from the first hints of humanity's widespread psychic abilities in the 40s and 50s up to 1992 (the near future at the time the book was written). It has a pseudo-scientific "woo"-ish feel to it, since the setting is more or less contemporary Earth, and an alternate history is being developed that needs to establish psychic metafacul While this and the subsequent Metaconcert are clearly a prologue to the upcoming main events of the later books, this story serves the purpose well, taking the reader from the first hints of humanity's widespread psychic abilities in the 40s and 50s up to 1992 (the near future at the time the book was written). It has a pseudo-scientific "woo"-ish feel to it, since the setting is more or less contemporary Earth, and an alternate history is being developed that needs to establish psychic metafaculties as truth. As a standalone story, I might not have been impressed with this tale of a motley collection of random individuals around the world developing their powers, for good and bad. The intermingling of this development with the worlds of politics, academics, science, and crime is almost too mundane to be interesting. As a building block in the larger saga, however, this piece fits perfectly, and May's writing shines here almost as brightly as in the Pliocene books. The choice of a Remillard on the sidelines rather than one of the major players as the chronicler of this history was a fine idea, and it's masterfully done, with equal parts drama and humor.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Battaglia

    Is Julian May still well known today? If not, its a shame because to me she seems to come out of that crop of SF writers that popped up during the eighties (Kim Stanley Robinson, Iain Banks, Dan Simmons, David Brin, William Gibson are among the others that come to mind, you could also throw CJ Cherryh in there although she technically started in the late seventies . . . the stuff I really like from her is from the eighties though) that were not just dependably solid and enjoyable to read but als Is Julian May still well known today? If not, its a shame because to me she seems to come out of that crop of SF writers that popped up during the eighties (Kim Stanley Robinson, Iain Banks, Dan Simmons, David Brin, William Gibson are among the others that come to mind, you could also throw CJ Cherryh in there although she technically started in the late seventies . . . the stuff I really like from her is from the eighties though) that were not just dependably solid and enjoyable to read but also came across as a concerted attempt to do something different every time, whether it was playing with storytelling techniques or staking out new ground or simply glorying in their own voices there's definitely a good sized group that could easily fill up a graduation class photo. May wasn't really a child of eighties SF, especially since she was in her fifties by then. She had written a couple stories in the 1950s (one of which was filmed a couple of times apparently) before avoiding the genre entirely until the eighties hit, when she came out with her "Saga of Pliocene Exile". And while that sounds like some kind of weird cross between "Clan of the Cave Bear" and "Outlander", it was something entirely different, the tale of a group from the future that goes back in time to the Pliocene to get the heck away from what the world has become and hopefully start a utopia. Unfortunately for them, aliens have reached the Pliocene first and set up shop. What follows is a very strained, violent version of "The Odd Couple" as the groups do pretty much everything but live in harmony. Oh, and psionic powers factor into this as well. I'm pretty sure it ended in a cataclysm. It was pretty great and all four books are well worth your time. But as it turns out, the whole thing was just an introduction to May's future history, which would eventually lead to her Galactic Milieu series. To serve as a bridge between the two series and to explain how we got to the future that we glimpsed in the past (er, so to speak) she wrote the novel "Intervention" and because American publishers love our money as much as we love forking it over to them they split a novel that wasn't very long in the first place into two separate books, of which this is the first. So its the first half of a book that serves as a prequel to two different series . . . is there any point to even reviewing this? Yes, actually. The fact that I still remember Julian May being very good despite having read the Pliocene series well over a decade ago in college tells you how memorable her writing is and reading this book reminded me just how good she was. The novel follows the gradual evolution of the Remillard family from a handful of French-Canadians to a family that would wind up changing the world and giving us a place in the universe. Its mostly told by Rogi, who is writing his memoirs of the days when metaphysical powers began to appear more often in the world, though there are moments when it cuts away to show the developing powers of other people across the planet, as well as what a bunch of aliens are doing as they observe humankind and fervently hope we don't blow ourselves to bits. The weakest parts to me are the ones with the aliens, who are showcases for May's imagination and not much else, not having a true alien sense that an author like Cherryh would bring to the proceedings (plus at times it seems like a faint mishmash of David Brin's Uplift Series without being as galactic spanning, at least not yet). Given their job is to sit there and wait until we get our collective act together or watch as we immolate ourselves I can understand why there isn't much she can do with those scenes, but still, I don't think I would miss them if they were excised from the book entirely. Even the "Family Ghost" that advises Rogi at various moments acts more like a literal deus ex machina, basically telling him exactly what to do at certain points or maneuvering him into positions where the choice is fairly obvious. Where it does succeed and succeed brilliantly is two fold. For one the characters are all fairly memorable, even the ones that don't appear that often. Most of our time is spent with Rogi and his ever growing extended family (he's sterile thanks to a childhood illness) and the generational feel that begins to swell in the novel is welcome as we watch his brother grow older, his nephews go from babies to men and start to have children of their own. She writes relationships well and seems to fully grasp how to make characters likeable even when they are doing things that aren't always in their best interest. She captures Rogi's freewheeling regret as well as his nephew Denis' guarded detachment and tentative hope and seems to get the complexities of family relationships, how sometimes you may be closer to a uncle instead of your father, how people can grow together when they realize all they have is each other, how you can be the same person yet different depending on who is in the room. The gradual aging of the family is one of the highlights of the novel and while it doesn't reach the heights of my favorite novels of that type (Crowley's "Little, Big" and to a lesser extent Banks' "The Crow Road") there are still like four more books to go featuring the same family. And secondly, she writes a great set of psychic powers. There was probably the temptation to turn this into the X-Men, as the people with powers slowly emerge into the world and gain more confidence in their abilities. But she stays pretty focused on the science aspect of magic psychic powers, with much of the cast exploring how to use their abilities via university experiments (try to get that funded today) although we have at least two separate characters using their powers for crime just to keep things balanced. She has a nuanced and sympathetic view of what it's like to read minds, with some interesting depictions of mental speaking and a sensitivity toward what it would be like to be with someone who can't fully open with you the way you need (in a sense its a less despairing version of Silverberg's "Dying Inside"), treating those psychic powers as simply a very useful ability that people need to develop, like throwing a ball or dancing. It keeps the proceedings grounded despite rampaging all over the world and featuring people talking straightfaced about telekinesis, which several X-Men movies should tell you that it isn't quite as easy as you would think (though in all fairness they have claws and blue people). Still, you can't give this book a full grade since its really only half the novel and doesn't conclude too much as find a place to stop. Also you can see where its going fairly early on, since its meant to be a staging ground for the next series, really only designed as a vehicle to carry us there without getting too confused (you could skip it entirely I suppose but I imagine it will make the next trilogy rougher going). Yet it impressed me enough to not want to read anything else but the next book, as well as reawakening long forgotten good vibes about the Pliocene series. It's ultimately telling that despite parts of her series reminds me of a strange combination of so many other SF series by other authors (enough so that it should have been a mess by all rights), the voice here reminds me of no one else but hers.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Declan Ellis

    I'm still halfway through the omnibus volume of this series ("Intervention"), but I thought I'd drop a short review, given it may be a while before I finish that. If this series (and the other two connected series "Galactic Milieu" and "Saga of the Exiles") goes on at a similar level of quality to what's been displayed in this book, this could be one of the best science fiction/fantasy series EVER. Well, maybe not quite Dune or LOTR level. But definitely right up there. It is epic in every way i I'm still halfway through the omnibus volume of this series ("Intervention"), but I thought I'd drop a short review, given it may be a while before I finish that. If this series (and the other two connected series "Galactic Milieu" and "Saga of the Exiles") goes on at a similar level of quality to what's been displayed in this book, this could be one of the best science fiction/fantasy series EVER. Well, maybe not quite Dune or LOTR level. But definitely right up there. It is epic in every way imaginable. And more than that, it is deeply intimate. May's characterization rivals that of literary giants such as Steinbeck. Her characters are complex, memorable, and constantly forced to make difficult decisions. Her plot is packed full of mind-blowing ideas, epic in proportion, and yet deeply profound. May contemplates predestination, human nature, suffering and many other deep themes in this epic. So far, my only complaints are May's use of literary references (although I'm probably the only person this bothers). However, I can accept this, given she isn't excessive. Her aliens also come across as slightly cliched and contrast strongly with the gritty realism of her human plot (flying saucers, green people... seriously?). Thankfully, they aren't in the novel for very long. Other than that, this book is absolutely awesome. I just hope that the quality continues into the subsequent 8 volumes. More thoughts to come.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John Golden

    Grabbed this to reread for a plane ride (a long day of planes) especially after May having passed. Loved it again, as an almost behind the scenes story of the Intervention that changed the course of human history. Lots of related threads, and you come to really be interested in many of the characters. Do you read this before or after the other books? I think this is analogous to do you think The Magician's Nephew or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe first? I'm a LWW first type, so I'd read th Grabbed this to reread for a plane ride (a long day of planes) especially after May having passed. Loved it again, as an almost behind the scenes story of the Intervention that changed the course of human history. Lots of related threads, and you come to really be interested in many of the characters. Do you read this before or after the other books? I think this is analogous to do you think The Magician's Nephew or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe first? I'm a LWW first type, so I'd read this after at least one of the other series. Probably the Galactic Mileau first.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Xabi1990

    8/10. Media de los 7 libros leídos de la autora : 8/10 Las siete novelas que he leído suyas se agrupan en dos series. La de La Intervención (3 libros) y la Saga del exilio en el Plioceno (4 libros). Autora poco conocida pero que se lee (o que leí) con auténtico frenesí. Recomiendo ambas, tal vez la del Plioceno baja un poco en los dos últimos, pero ambas son joyas que tiene Ultramar en su colección de Grandes éxitos de Bolsillo (Ciencia Ficción).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    I must have read this decades ago when I read THE PLIOCENE EXILE and liked it then but now it seems stodgy and dated, with dramatic philosophical discussions of good metaconcert vs evil. Too bad but there’s lots of sci-fi that I think has aged better.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Devlin

    A good start to the prequel trilogy that while not being to thrilling compared to others in the trilogy. However it did a fine job starting the beginning to the series and introducing Rogi, one of my favorite characters.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    I love coming across a series of books that I can get all wrapped up in. This series has done that for me. Certainly a keeper in my library, to be read again. Welcome to a new earth.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andy Goldman

    I’m starting this re-read of the series here rather than with the Pliocene Exile, for a change. It still blows me away how perfectly all 9 books fit together.

  13. 5 out of 5

    SA

    These books affect me just as greatly as they did when I first read them fifteen or more years ago. I have such affection for Rogi, and all the crazy Remillards. It's fascinating to come back to them for the fourth or fifth time and see how much more I understand about the motivations and actions of the characters. I still love the aliens. I think May's aliens influenced me as much as or more than Star Trek's version. And I know that May primed the pump for my eventual devotion to philosophy as These books affect me just as greatly as they did when I first read them fifteen or more years ago. I have such affection for Rogi, and all the crazy Remillards. It's fascinating to come back to them for the fourth or fifth time and see how much more I understand about the motivations and actions of the characters. I still love the aliens. I think May's aliens influenced me as much as or more than Star Trek's version. And I know that May primed the pump for my eventual devotion to philosophy as a discipline. The way she interweaves philosophy, ethics, religion, science, and technology is just landmark. It could possibly be read as outdated now by a contemporary reader--Soviet Russia, for example--but I think it's more useful to approach it like Brave New World, where you accept the origin point and work from there. I can't overstate how influential and important these books are to me, and I'm glad I'm taking my time with them now instead of wolfing them down as I did as a kid.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    This tells the story of the evolution of the human mind. People all around the world start developing new mental abilities. The story focuses on a particular family that plays an important role in the development of the human mind. All of this happening while under the surveillance of a galactic civilization. The book grabbed my attention right from the start and I couldn't put it down until I was done. This tells the story of the evolution of the human mind. People all around the world start developing new mental abilities. The story focuses on a particular family that plays an important role in the development of the human mind. All of this happening while under the surveillance of a galactic civilization. The book grabbed my attention right from the start and I couldn't put it down until I was done.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    This entire series by Julian May (and really there are three series) remains one of my favorites.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    First book bridging two series by Julian May, starting at the very beginning of developing mindpowers in children all over the world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    I love this whole series, despite the fact that Julian May just loves to hit the reader over the head with her great, big bat of foreshadowing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Geert

    Na 50 blz. ben ik maar gestopt...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jutta

    interesting. read Spring 2011 read 7/2005 Read Fall 1999

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Surveillance by Julian May (1988)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julián

    ok, maybe it's not as interesting as the other books I read. I mean, it's just starting so, there no action yet, but it is ok to know how all the story started. ok, maybe it's not as interesting as the other books I read. I mean, it's just starting so, there no action yet, but it is ok to know how all the story started.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Fatbaldguy60

    Good series that gives a lot more background to the prior series.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy Qualls

    On loan from Jacob. Struggled with some jargon early but eventually caught the rhythm. Ends on a massive cliffhanger.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Darren Harding

  25. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Ballard

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Swick

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Johnson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kay Robinett

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jen

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