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Darwinia [Hardcover]

Robert Charles Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jun 1998
A major new novel from the winner of the Philip K. Dick AwardNow Wilson joins the Tor list with a breathtaking science fiction novel of a very different twentieth century, haunted, wonderful, and strange. In 1912, history was changed by the Miracle, when the old world of Europe was replaced by Darwinia, a strange land of nightmarish jungle and antediluvian monsters.To some, the Miracle was an act of divine retribution; to others, it is an opportunity to carve out a new empire. Leaving an America now ruled by religious fundamentalists, young Guilford Law travels to Darwinia on a mission of discovery that will take him further than he can possibly imagine...to a shattering revelation about mankind's destiny in the universe.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (Jun 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312860382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312860387
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,622,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

In 1912, the entire population of Europe disappeared; all over the rest of the world, there were lights in the sky and the telegraph wires went silent. And suddenly from Britain to Siberia, from Sweden to Spain, there was a jungle full of strange monsters, fur-bearing snakes and lost cities--the continent they call Darwinia. In America, religious fundamentalists came to power claiming that this was God's punishment for the heresies of Darwin; an expedition sets out into the heart of the lost continent. And people are haunted by dreams of a war that never was ... If this were all that were going on, Robert Charles Wilson's novel would be audacious and intellectually thrilling enough, but there is more besides, lots more. At an early stage, we realise that the expedition has its enemies--a conspiracy of the deadly and immortal. And neither the conspiracy, nor the world of the Darwinia miracle, is exactly what they seem. Full of speculations about Deep History, the nature of reality and the plan to escape the end of Time, this starts as SF adventure story and becomes remarkably more; over several books, Wilson has quietly built himself a reputation of promise, and now entirely delivers. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"A remarkable book, worthy of the highest honors of our field. Don't miss it."--"Locus""In the best tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells....A page turner."--"Toronto Globe and Mail""Rich, lucid, an literate....Comparable to Philip K. Dick or A. E. Van Vogt. Remarkable indeed."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great idea, squandered among homages 18 July 1999
By A Customer
The fantastic premise of this novel - fantastic in both senses - is what keeps you reading. It also helps you to forgive the shallowness of the characters, and the squeezing of so many sci-fi homages into one little book - which starts off a little like John Wyndham, turns into a gung-ho exploration story a la Jules Verne, and suddenly leaps into Olaf Stapledon-style metaspace, with strong undertones of Philip K Dick. And at times he does write a little like the late Fanny Cradock. By the end of the thing, you're up a gum tree down a creek without a paddle, and you've lost your favourite hat. But I can't deny I found it entertaining enough to comment on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars surprises 5 Aug 2005
By Gibbs
This is a much better, and better organised, book than other reviews suggest. It may look, at the start, as if it's a Victorian pastiche fantasy involving the sudden replacement of an entire continent with new fauna/flora, suggesting a novel explanation for fossil evidence of earlier seemingly alien systems (not necessarily a theistic explanation). The real explanation, signalled early on, is a lot spookier and provoking. It wouldn't be fair to say what it is - but maybe a glance at [...] would help (or worry) once you've read the book! The author doesn't 'lose his way', and his characterization adds interest to what is already a good myth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book cut off in its prime. 5 Oct 1999
A fascinating premise to this book applied a little heavy handedly. The metaphysical side of the book should have been broken in more gently and the use at the end of "60 years later" in a book mostly set in the 1920s strikes me as an author who's lost his way during the writing and wants to tie things up.
That negativity aside it was quite a good read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very much a game of two halves 10 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The first part of this book, describing the sudden and inexplicable change of Europe into a land of strange plants and creatures, and its exploration, was absolutely fantastic. Had the rest of the book lived up to this, it would warrant 5 stars. Sadly, midway through everything changes.

Without giving too much away, just as I was beginning to wonder how on Earth the author was going to rationalise what had happened and hope that it wasn't going to be a hoary old SF cliche, a short "interlude" gave the game away. Yup, hoary old SF cliche ahoy! Even a "And then they woke up"-style ending would have been better! Read the first part and make up your own ending.
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