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The Secret City: A Novel Paperback – 19 Apr 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 209 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications (19 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892391449
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892391445
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 1.6 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,273,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

“...a sweet and involving story. Its attitude toward humans and aliens is refreshing—humans are neither markedly inferior nor markedly superior to the aliens. Both species have problems, particularly severe class differences. What is ultimately important is personal connections—people who learn to love each other. The story is told through the points of view of Lorpas and Allush, and both are good but naïve sorts, giving the novel a pellucid sort of voice. (The viewpoint characters of Emshwiller’s other recent novels, Mister Boots and The Mount, are similarly naïve, as are the narrators of many of her stories. Her strategy often seems to be to show disturbing situations, and nasty characters, through the eyes of innocents—an effective approach.) The Secret City is yet another strong late work from one of our treasures.”
SF Site, featured review

“But all these past instances aside, no one has yet approached the trope with the finesse and grace of Emshwiller. She’s a writer of such slantwise sensibilities and such deep perceptions that she conveys the exotic weirdness of such a setup—and the almost unfathomable otherness of the Betashan mentality—with uncommon vividness and startling jolts of creepiness.”
Sci Fi Weekly (Grade: A)

“Highly recommended.”
Midwest Book Review

"Emshwiller has been writing occasionally for 50 years, and a new work is a treat."
The Denver Post

“Emshwiller’s latest displays her incredible talent for writing naturalistic prose about unnatural situations as well as her ability to create a compact level of intensity.”
The Agony Column

“This carefully crafted, ambivalent story depicts alien and human alike struggling just to get by.”
Publishers Weekly

“During an award-filled, 30-year career, Emshwiller has delighted readers and fellow writers with her unique brand of exquisitely rendered magic realism. The city of the title of her latest haunting book is a mountainous retreat, concealed by vines and tree roots, where alien tourists now stranded on Earth may assuage nostalgia for their home world, Betasha. It is to this now largely abandoned hideout that one particular alien, Lorpas, goes to seek fellowship after being arrested for vagrancy and escaping to the hills. There he meets and falls for Allush, a female Betashan who, like Lorpas, was born on Earth and has blended in so well that rescue is no longer appealing. Emshwiller alternates between Lorpas’s account of his growing friendship with a bumbling rescuer whom he overpowers and Allush’s tale of return to Betasha as the two meet, separate, and finally reunite to establish Earth as their new home world. A simple yet vivid parable on the value of cherishing the home one knows best.”
Booklist

Synopsis

Written in a voice that is accessible to both mainstream and genre readers, this gripping tale contains a contemporary political subtext that is packed with humanism, complexity, and subtle humour. This inventive story centres on a mysterious enclave protecting a lost culture, a hidden city in the wilderness where stranded aliens struggle to preserve their fragile society. Hoping for a better life, many have fled the Secret City in favour of trying to survive in the harsh human world; others remain concealed, living out a fading memory in hope of deliverance. When the mythical rescuers suddenly arrive, insisting on an immediate interplanetary return, these very-human aliens discover that neither world is truly their own.

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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com

Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
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Richard R. Horton
4.0 out of 5 starsSweet, involving, first contact story
10 May 2007 - Published on Amazon.com
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