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  • Earth
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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 19 January 1998
I was really fascinated by this book, even if it was a tad long. I find the idea of writing near-future sci-fi to be one of the most challenging types of stories, especially when the political climate can change as dramatically as it has since Earth was written: I get bogged down in the what-ifs of it all. Anyway, I'm impressed with the "prediction" factor, as it seems Mr. Brin has balanced interest with plausability all with skill. I wonder if the the larger alien intervention idea wasn't influenced by a similar one in Sagan's Contact.
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on 10 February 1999
David Brin has managed to extrapolate in ways that no other SF author has done. He not only advances technology by half a century, but also the trends of society. His idea that senior citizens will basically control the world because they are the largest voting group sounded right on. Maybe the most impressive thing about Brin's writing is the way he takes multiple plot lines and plays them on each other, having them all come together at the end. My only problem is that the characters didn't seem as well rounded as the ones in his other novels.
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on 11 April 1997
Many a man has traced his fingers in the smooth sands of the future, foretelling stories of glory or grisly reality. Few (none I have read) have held up to time's test for accuracy and foresight like Mr Brin's work in Earth. Written over 7 years ago, I (yesterday) finished the experience and turned on the television, checked my email, and, like a whispering fortuneteller, the television news described the probable mental effects of today's solar flares, the flooding in the great plains, greenhouse gases, and Greenpeace activists misguided efforts to save the arctic wastelands and getting frozen in the act, so to speak.

I gave this book to my girlfriend, with encouragement to keep a dictionary close by and "just get through the first fifty pages". The purpose was to create considerable fodder for discussion for many eves to come. It seems to me this rigorous and scientific work has a wisdom and coherence that can be appreciated only by those willing to put down all preconceptions about human limits, and capable of ingesting the depths and implications of modern science. I am convinced two years of university schooling could be substituted for a thorough study of just this book.
Multifaceted, multilevel, and, best of all, multi- perspective. I admit some of the detail could have been left out to avoid losing the interest of the scientifically literate, and simplifying the daunting task of the reader whose mind has yet to consider the implications of who and what we are, and what the future holds for humanity.
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on 7 January 1999
I hadn't read anyhthing by Brin before, when I saw EARTH at the library, I judged it by its cover. It turned out to be a great story with well developed, thoughtful characters. The end was not too "out there" (just barely) but he made it sound plausible. I was very happy he didn't end it on some cliche ominous note. I liked his vision of our future. I'll enjoy being a little old man there. My only wish was that, in a book this long, he had included a list of characters to refer back to.
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on 30 September 1998
Two very difficult tasks are managing a large cast of important characters and building a near-future society. David Brin does both brilliantly in Earth. The people are engaging and believable, even when their parts are tangental, and the society is phenomenal. He correctly anticipates many aspects of the WWW, and I'm eagerly watching as many more predictions move towards fulfillment. His ecological predictions are realistic, not catastrophic, and his solution, though a bit over the top, leavens the divine intervention with the practical steps we still need to take. Not only is this a first class work of science fiction, it's a insightful work of sociology, technology forecasting, and people watching.
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on 30 August 1997
In Earth, David Brin has managed to place me in a juxtaposition, as a reader. In half of the near-future portrayed in Earth, life is dismal, and the characters are resigned each to a diminished existence amidst a humanity submissive to Gaia. On the other hand, there happen to be situations and characters that drew me in, that I wanted to be part of. This book seems to be Brin's answer to Gore's Earth in the Balance. All of our worst nightmares about humankind's destruction of the planet have come true, and it is this grim outlook that hangs like smog over an excellent science fiction tale that seems like slim pickings during the reading, but shines in retrospect.

In desirable morsels between the dreary passages, Brin explores the possibility of a black hole being accidentally released on the surface of the Earth. Initially, it is a microscopic "singularity", and slips through the crust to eventually orbit our planet's core. Theoretically, it would consume the Earth's mantle for years until this 3rd rock from the sun implodes--over 80% of the Earth's mass being consumed in the final few minutes. Of course, David Brin is too brilliant for it to be left so simple a problem, which is why Earth is as intriguing a mystery as it is science fiction.

In typical Brin style, all the stops are pulled out for the climax. That includes the wildly unexpected. Regular readers of Brin won't be surprised at the feeling that they've stepped into a completely different tale when the lengthy, exciting climax erupts.
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on 5 May 1997
I thought this was a fabulous book. It took me a while to get into it as I was overwhelmed by its size; but like all of his novels, it only takes a little while to be totally hooked. I love the details: taking the name of Jane Goodall in vain, obscure physics phenomena creating chaos, characters with good intentions and better reflexes. This novel gets across the environmental message in a way that makes it accessible and entertaining as well as informative. (In my opinion, its greatest parallel is O.S. Card's "Speaker for the Dead." Both works evoke a similar response in my consciousness.)

In response to a couple other reviews (I agree with "poptart" read that one!): Yes, the message is strong, but I don't think that it makes the story weak. That the book is fiction extrapolated from fact and yet still has a current feel years after being written attests to the vision of the author and the relevance of the message. It does not come across as the typical shoot-em up sci-fi we all know and love so well, but more as fantasy with a strong background in science.

I didn't get the message that the world could only be saved by the omnipresent computer being, but rather that she would help the process. I also liked the fact that an intelligent, well-meaning, irreverent character did not die. It's one of the benefits of fantasy, that not-dying option.
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on 30 September 1997
This book is one of my top 10 favorite SF books ever. It has several interwoven plots; each of which is great. The new "modality" (as Brin calls it) of gravometrics is wonderfully detailed and interesting. Though the gravitometrics are fantasy, every other detail is well though out and completely beleivable. Brin's writting will make it difficult to put down once you've started. His education and intelligence contribute greatly to the book's quality. I strongly recomend this book.
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on 14 December 1996
I must admit, I have a hard time envisioning the futures of
several other sci-fi worlds. Often, the future is shown as
wonderful and all we have to do to get there is sit around
on our butts. Never is the price of progress and technology
explored in these worlds (take a hint Star Trek fans). Brin
has taken these problems into account and crafted a wonderful
story. Here is a book the world needs to read: a vision of
a ruined future in which hope still exists. Real people deal
overwhelming odds and come out on top. More important than
the characters is the message: we are destroying ourselves.
Often it is argued that environmentalism is only trying to
save a few little frogs in the rainforest. Anyone who knows
anything about it knows it is more than that: we're trying
to save ourselves. That is the message we all need to learn.
Now, if we would only mail several dozen copies of the book
to Republican Congressman.....
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on 1 September 1996
David Brin's effort in "Earth" is one that will frustrate many of his fans from the realm of hardcore sci-fi. The book is really a fantasy well floured in sound science and wrapped around a very overt environmentalist message. It is certain that both "greens" and their opposition will completely miss some of the hardheaded evolutionary conlusions drawn by Brin. At the same time, Brin is also taking some interesting looks at present day trends that probably are lost on readers too distracted by the environmentalist message. Among others, trends Brin examines include effects of the emerging "net-culture" and the potential of the use of video recording devices by citizens beyond Rodney King. There is also, implicit in the climactic battle, an intriguing allusion to eastern philosophy. I recommend it.
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