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Earth Made Of Glass Paperback – 8 Apr 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New edition edition (8 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752816586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752816586
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 3 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,954,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

In a sequel to A Million Open Doors, John Barnes writes another novel in the universe of the Thousand Cultures. Humanity dwells in colonies (some natural and some artificial) spread over hundreds of planets that lost touch with each other for more than a thousand years. Due to the invention of the springer, an instantaneous teleportation device, the worlds are communicating again. But after centuries of isolation, reunification results in intense cultural and economic stress.

Giraut and Margaret, characters from the earlier book, are now a husband and wife diplomatic team for the Council of Humanity. They also do clandestine work for the Office of Special Projects, an undercover organisation that deals with serious problems that result when local governments prove intractable. Their next assignment: promote peace and co-operation on Briand, a hellish planet whose physical hostility is matched only by the hatred its two cultures show to each other.

Tamil Mandalam was founded by classical Tamils, and Kintulum was founded by classical Mayans. Tamils believe themselves to be perfect and believe that once the springer does open Briand to humanity, they will show the rest of the universe how to live. The Mayans, when they communicate at all, apparently feel the same way. The magnificence of each culture's accomplishments in art and literature is overshadowed by citizens' bigotry.

A difficult assignment indeed; as if high gravity, high temperatures and ethnic attacks weren't enough, Giraut and Margaret's mission grows even more troublesome because of their marital problems, Margaret's depression and the bureaucratic thick-headedness of Briand's Ambassador. --Bonnie Bouman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A masterful job."--"Publishers Weekly""First-rate!"--"Library Journal" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JP on 23 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
I encourage those a little disappointed in contrasting this book with the first instalment 'A Million Open Doors' to consider a quote from the author himself in a dedication he kindly wrote in my copy of Daybreak Zero. Though referring to the second in a different trilogy, his comments are no less fitting here:

'Truly it has been said that life is like the second book in a trilogy, beginning with an excitement that may prove spurious, flowing through many things whose purpose lies before or will come after, and ending at the nearest thing to long enough - yet so much better than not having one!'
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 May 1999
Format: Paperback
If you haven't read 'A Million Open Doors', stop now. Go read that, and find out about the Thousand Cultures of humanity and the attempts to reunify them now that the 'springer', the hoary old sci-fi gimmick of instantaneous transport, has put them back in touch.
OK, so now to EMOG. The main characters of AMOD, Giraut and Margaret, are sent to the bum-hole of the universe, an isolated world with little habitable land and two mutually antagonistic cultures, one Tamil and one Mayan. The progress of their diplomatic mission is set against their attempts to save their marriage and the results, while not remotely unexpected, leave you with a sense of sadness and horror.
A beautifully painted book, with wonderful descriptions of the clashing cultures and a supporting cast that are more believable that the protagonists. It made me feel as if I was in high-tech version of 15th century Asian or American cities: definitely worth a read.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
The ideas in this book are interesting: a huge interstellar culture discovers instantanous transportation and so must attempt to pacify the agressive elements on far flung posts of the former expansion.
However, this book suffers from mediocraty. The story is a little depressing and dark, without being briliantly so as in Consider Plebias (Ian Banks). The charicters are not particularly strongly developed and are a little one dimensional. The book ends rather abruptly, like the author reached the word limit and had to round up.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A disappointing sequel to "A Million Open Doors." 22 Jun. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This one has none of the charm of its predecessor, and the central conceit of the book -- that humans are populating the galaxy with designer cultures concocted by scholarly fanatics -- here seems much less believable. Our heroes, Giraut and Margaret, are assigned to an inhospitable planet to defuse a cultural war, but they mostly just kill time while events take place around them, and their marital problems make a dreary subplot, hinging as they do on a "surprise" that most readers will see coming a long way off.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Uneven but great successor to "A Million Open Doors" 23 Mar. 1998
By Patrick E. Oneil - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is a successor to "A Million Open Doors" with continuing characters: Giraut Leones, Margaret Leones, and Shan (chief of their agency which wants to bring together all the 1000 world societies to meet the aliens whose ruins they keep finding). Giraut and Margaret are on a new world, a high-gravity, hot, hostile environment with two cultures who hate each other. There are two major plots going on at once. In the first, one of the societies had put up a Prophet named Ix who preaches peace between the two cultures. I am not easily impressed by such things, but I had tears in my eyes several times as I read about him and things he said. I thought it was as beautiful as some of Christ's parables. The other plot is about the difficult marriage Giraut and Margaret are having. Barnes ABSOLUTELY avoids any easy answers, and I was impressed with the whole work. The uneveness problem arose from a few things: (1) the plot took a while to get interesting, maybe 100 pages; (2) there are frequent non-grammatical constructs of a certain type: " Margaret and I...," for example, and it is a little annoying. But the man is a genius in writing a moving story!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Characters need a good shake 24 Sept. 1999
By Scott Ellsworth - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I liked Barnes work enough to get his entire catalog on the basis of Mother of Storms. Reading this made me consider never buying another one of his books again, as I cannot trust his endings. I found the background interesting, which is why it got two stars rather than one, but the moronic behavior of Margaret and the insipid behavior of Giraut turned an interesting pair of characters into a set piece in which you wanted to shake them both and demand that they grow up.
Marital troubles are nothing to sneeze at, and well used, they can drive a story. He wrote the interaction well enough that I had a strong response, but the response was to want the characters, everyone they knew, and everywhere they went melted to slag. They were less interesting people than in the first book, and became progressively more annoying as time went on.
I could have handled any of the uplifting ending possibilities where character growth took place. Depending on that growth, they could have either worked it out, or not. Instead, they came to a resolution that was thoroughly unsatisfying, leaving me to ask not only why I invested the time to read about these people, but why I spent the time to read the earlier book. I want those hours back!
In consequence, I can reccomend neither as worth your time, since this is the resolution chosen to what was done the first time around.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
So much potential, such disappointing execution 21 Mar. 2001
By Kim Unertl - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The one thing that you can unequivocally say about John Barnes is that he has exciting ideas. Great, wonderful concepts that if properly executed would form some classic sci fi novels. The disappointing part is that he tends to fall flat on his face when it's time for execution. Especially disappointing are his endings and how he tends to rush through them.
The concepts of A Million Open Doors were very promising. Humanity spreading out and colonizing worlds. Loss of communication between the colony worlds. New technology making instanteous travel possible. Earth Made of Glass is based on these same concepts, with a subplot of a marriage somehow gone wrong tied in. It's with that whole subplot that this story degenerates from an exciting tale of cultural prejudice and how technology is stirring up the pot into a story of how two people can no longer relate to each other. I'm not saying that this doesn't belong in a sci fi story. I'm saying that Barnes' inability to execute that subplot well drags the entire rest of the book down the drain.
I thought the first 100 pages of this book were GREAT! Very exciting, getting to learn about new cultures and how the instantaneous travel technology was affecting their relations. Then, Barnes goes into his standard "I will philosophize them relentlessly and they will understand the world better" mode. For example, three pages of the prophet Ix explaining while it is better to love rather than to hate is a bit much.
I wish that Barnes would collaborate with someone who would teach him to take himself a little less seriously. Also, it would be great if he could get an editor who would correct his grammer and style. My pet peeve, in addition to the grammer gaffs noted in other posts, is that Barnes uses parentheses in the speeches given by characters... how the heck does that make it past an editor? We're not talking about a character whispering an aside to someone during his conversation -- we're talking about an integral part of a speech given by a character!
All in all, the most disappointing part of this novel is the rushed ending. Barnes rolls out all kinds of different technology, revelations about the personal lives of characters, etc, etc in the last few pages to wrap up some dilemmas.
I love that Barnes doesn't take the easy way out for his characters -- not everything is beautiful in their lives at the end of the book. I just wish that he could do a better job in writing about his ideas.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Painful tale of marriage, planet set to explode 20 Sept. 2000
By Richard R. Horton - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In Earth Made of Glass, a sequel to A Million Open Doors, Giraut and Margaret are sent to the hostile planet Briand, where two artificial human cultures have been forced to live together. One is based on Tamil literature, the other on Mayan culture. The two peoples hate each other bitterly.
Giraut and Margaret's team try to work with some of the "good people" with the on-planet culture, people who are trying to work for peace. But at the same time serious stresses are showing in Giraut and Margaret's marriage. The two crises come to a head at much the same time.
The novel is full of neat inventions, and the cultures are intriguingly portrayed. I also felt that the depiction of a decaying marriage was very well done, and very believable. I found the depiction of the cultural difficulties a bit less believable: dependent on people established as good acting quite evilly. Perhaps I am simply too much of an optimist, but I was not convinced.
Interesting, ambitious, but not quite successful.
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