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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful and imaginative story
Phillip Mann has been writing very good science fiction novels (Pioneers, Eye of the Queen, Wulfsyarn etc) for a long time and this is no exception.

It tells the story of the planet Paradise and the miners, settlers and the scientists who have lived there for several hundred years. It tells how these humans have completely misunderstood their relationship with...
Published on 3 April 2013 by Brett Shand

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I didn't really like the "biographical" writing style
Inventive but slow to get going. I didn't really like the "biographical" writing style. All in all it was a little disappointing.
Published 10 months ago by Mark Joyce


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful and imaginative story, 3 April 2013
By 
Brett Shand (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Phillip Mann has been writing very good science fiction novels (Pioneers, Eye of the Queen, Wulfsyarn etc) for a long time and this is no exception.

It tells the story of the planet Paradise and the miners, settlers and the scientists who have lived there for several hundred years. It tells how these humans have completely misunderstood their relationship with this world and how Paradise, almost in spite of itself, turns on them.

When through a nasty piece of political in-fighting the Space Council decides to remove all human presence from Paradise, to disestablish it, it tells how two humans - Hera and Mack - stay behind (one legally and one not) on Paradise and how they find some very unexpected "creatures" and also find their redemption there.

It is a powerful and well-told story with well-developed and likeable characters. If you are willing to listen it will teach you more about yourself, more about our earth and the way we live in it and maybe more about the nature of love.

However it is not a preachy book at all, it is a strong story filled with humour and love and also its fair share of sorrow.

I really liked this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully imaginative, 24 Mar. 2013
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
OK, you want a book that brings a wonderfully imaginative world to the fore, brings cracking characters into a future society and blends it all with top notch story telling. Whilst this, in some respects, is a future dystopian novel, its one that takes a different flavour to a lot of the over titles out there at the moment, yes the cataclysm happened many years before, but when you throw the current population into a world of danger as well as what they perceive as magic, all round makes this a book that really does grip the reader from start to finish.

Add to this an author who has a clear idea on where he's taking the reader, blends it with wonderfully imaginative flora and wraps it all up in prose that just keeps you gripped all round makes this a book that is definitely worth the Sci-Fi readers time. Cracking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good attempt at potraying the alien, 11 May 2013
By 
A. J. Poulter "AP" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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This is this author's first novel in about fifteen years. His very first novel, Eye of the Queen, back in 1982, was notable for its detailing of the emotional side of alien contact, with a race of telepaths. Later novels like Wulfs Yarn and the Paxwax novels also dealt with complex human/alien relationships. Pioneers was a very dark novel indeed, in which humanity becomes alien to itself.

It is fitting perhaps that this novel most resembles his first, as though the author wants one more try at his core alien theme. The planet Paradise is indeed a paradise, extremely Earth-like, but with two moons that complicate tides. There are strangely no fauna, but the flora has evolved into a variety of forms, Dendrons, Tattershall Weeds, Reapers and more, some of which possess limited mobility, and the capacity to hurt and possibly kill humans. Paradise has been colonised, most of the hostile native fauna has been erased but strangely Earth plants never really take take to growing there. This leads to its 'disestablishment' that is, its closure as a destination in the inter-planetary 'fractal' gateway system and the withdrawal of its settlers, mostly farmers, and the scientific exploration teams.

This is were we meet Dr Hera Melhuish who is head of the science mission, and the principle character. She stays behind when everyone has left, to shut things down. But things go wrong and she is rescued by Mack, one of her technicians. Their developing romance seems to be both a cause of, and product of, the flora of Paradise re-asserting its dominion. One memorable image is of settler's graves being pushed out of the ground as the native flora, some considered extinct, re-appear and re-assert their dominance.

There are two flaws that I see in this novel. One is that there is too much of it. There are unnecessary fake 'documents' on top of a very slow progress of the plot. The other is a complete lack of any scientific rational for the flora-only biosphere. What we have here is more like fantasy: the return to normality after the 'Dark Lord' is defeated by virtue. Yet this is a wonderfully imaginative novel and for once the strange picture of an alien environment on the cover is evocative rather than just ornamental. It could make an intriguing film if the special effects were good enough and the content focused on the biosphere re-awakening.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, engrossing, and absorbing, 15 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Disestablishment of Paradise (Paperback)
At 500 pages, this book is not a trivial undertaking. However, I was pleasantly surprised: even though it is not an edge-of-the-seat action-adventure, it quickly drew me in and kept my rapt attention. It was not at all uncommon for me to look up and realise that I was 100 pages past the last point when I had checked my progress.

An account of the colonisation of a new planet and that endeavour's eventual failure due to mysterious factors, the book tells the story mainly from the point of view of the head scientist in charge of biological cataloging and research of the planet's bio-forms. Written by a third-person narrator whom the main character has chosen to tell her story, the narrative is compiled from many hours of personal interviews with the protagonist, blended with information from correspondence and numerous other documents relating to events occurring on the planet and to its inhabitants -- both native and those from Earth.

I have to say that the imagination and detail which have gone into the creation of those alien bio-forms is absolutely AMAZING. The author's success in inventing entities which are utterly alien and different from both humans and Earth flora and fauna is impressive -- and the challenge to the characters in the book is to avoid the tendency to try to understand them in human terms.

During the unravelling of the planet's mysteries, the author has also succeeded in taking the main characters through an emotional progression which more fully develops their personalities and shows a marked, but realistic, growth of character.

If you enjoy character-driven plots populated with imaginative aliens, settings, and events, you might enjoy this book as much as I did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous novel about our relationship with the world around us, 14 May 2013
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The story details what happens to Dr Hera Melhuish, a research scientist, when she remains behind alone on a lush alien planet - Paradise - for a short period to complete her work. The Space Council has decided to abandon their attempts to colonise the planet after crop failures and other setbacks. Hera soon becomes aware that the flora is fighting back against the intruders. She and Mack, who comes to her rescue, are nicely developed characters and the imaginative descriptions of the plant and tree life are carefully articulated. It is a book about our relationship with the world we live in but it is also about human relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and my only slight criticism is that it is a little over long but I don't hesitate to give it five stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I didn't really like the "biographical" writing style, 5 July 2014
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Inventive but slow to get going. I didn't really like the "biographical" writing style. All in all it was a little disappointing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This was a fantastic read. My kind of science fiction in that ..., 2 Sept. 2014
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This was a fantastic read. My kind of science fiction in that it has a strong character focus and a well developed alien world to explore and understand. The underlying message, especially as it evolved in the last few chapters, was very clear and well written. My only complaint (which is a good complaint) is that the ending felt a wee bit rushed. I would have liked it to be rounded out just a bit more.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't get on with it at all, 9 April 2014
By 
Mr. M. G. Helliwell "matthelliwell" (surrey, england) - See all my reviews
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I know others like this and its in the short list for a SF award but personally I couldn't stand the book and gave you half way through. My problems with it were:

1. There wasn't any plot. The book is written from the perspective of the main character being interviewed for a biography so you end up being told what's going to happen by the biographer followed by the event actually being written about. As a consequence there are no surprises and no suspense. For example, you're told the planet is abandoned due to politics and then you get pages describing it all in irrelevant detail.

2. The characters are caricatures and cliched ones at that. For example, the author tries to paint the demolition team as blue
collar, macho but with a soft side. When they fly off in their flier, they sit with their legs hanging off the side drinking beer, just like proper work class people do. Their leader has a suitably macho name of "Mack", but guess what - he also like poetry.

3. The prose is dull. Don't expect any great lyricism. The writing is overly long, flowering and pedestrian.

4. The demolition of artifacts left on evacuated worlds never gets properly explained (at least not in the first half of the book I read). It read like a device to introduce the demolition team (and their poetry loving team leader) or to pad out the book.

I'm not sure why I found this book so much worse than others, but there you go!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very 'Ringworld'- in a good way, 24 April 2014
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Well written bit of of high sci-fi. For some reason (can't put my finger on it), it reminded me a lot of Larry Niven's 'Ringworld' books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, probably unforgettable, 17 April 2014
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Exploring a fresh planet, hoping to exploit it, the human race encounters strangeness it simply can't deal with.

This book is posed as a retrospective of the retreat from an alien sphere.

The story is wonderful, full of unlikely magic and substantial characters. There are some great science fiction ideas too, and the telling is smart too. I particularly liked the supplementary documents and the layered narrative.

Great stuff.
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The Disestablishment of Paradise
The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann (Paperback - 13 Feb. 2014)
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