on 29 February 2004
The fours stars are given bearing in mind a comparison to Silverberg's other work. A superb and versatile SF writer, Robert Silverberg's 'Downward to Earth' isn't in the same league as classics such as 'Down the Line', 'Tower of Glass',and the SF Masterworks series' own 'The Book of Skulls'. It's still a pretty good read, though, and if you liked any of the above it serves as a pleasant enough time-waster.
There are plenty of swipes at the history of colonialism as Gunderson returns to what he knew when it was under earth rule as 'Holman's World'. It's now know as Belzagor and the dominant life-form appears to be the Nildoror, who, apart from a few subtle differences, resemble elephants. The book becomes reminiscent of 'Heart of Darkness' as Gunderson embarks on a journey in search of various humans who decided to stay after control of the planet was given back to the natives, among them an enigmatic individual named 'Kurtz'.
The author keeps things going with his usual skill and the denouement is worth the wait. From a lesser or unknown author this would probably merit five starts but it's Grade 'B' Silverberg
on 20 November 2005
Holman's World, now known as Belzagor, a planet occupied by not one but two intelligent races, was once Edmund Gundersen's home. He was a Company man, having a career and a life there, ten years previously. Why has he returned? Because he is haunted by his time there. He knows that he must embark upon a journey of discovery, not only to uncover this planet's great secret, but to be part of it, fully and completely. And embark upon it he does, at great risk....
Robert Silverberg proves what a fertile imagination he has in this powerful and moving SF novel.
on 2 September 2015
I am quite new to SF genre ,so I thought that the masterworks were a good place where to start. I picked up this title just because I liked the cover and the story seemed interesting, little I knew of the author, but now I can say ....shame on me for not knowing R Silverberg before........this book literally took me on journey hand in hand with the main character, and what a magical journey has been....I was totally engrossed , absolutely loved everything and I couldnt believe this book was written 45 years ago! Robert Silverberg has now a all new section in my bookshelf and judging from the long list of books on his name it will be quite a large one......
on 23 November 2014
Silverberg at his very best. Great novel - kept me hooked from start to finish. Some people have labelled it as the sci-fi version of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". Not at all. I've read "Heart of Darkness" - awful novel. So disjointed. Can't understand what the fuss is all about. "Downward to the Earth" is a complete story, and keeps your interest going all the way. The main character is realistic and one which I completely related to. The aliens are a fantastic idea, as is the whole planet on which the novel takes place. Read this if you love good sic-fi. For me it rates as one of the best all-time sci-fi novels.
on 30 April 2013
I enjoyed this book and it was nothing like I expected, which is rare. I have been reading the Silverberg classics recently and so far they have all been good. This one has ideas that in other hands might just feel silly, but they don't. The book never feels like hard work, but till manages to paint a detailed picture of what is going on and the setting. My favourite Silverberg is still man in the maze, which I highly recommend. But this is worth a read for a sci-fi fan who likes books that don't follow stereotypical space ships, hi tech and standard alien ideas.
on 28 October 2005
DOWNWARD TO THE EARTH is Robert Silverberg's mythical masterpeice of mankind's awakening. Citing Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Silverberg breaks the conventions of science fiction and creates an intelligent, somber tale of one man's jounrey into his own heart of darkness. Beautifully written and completely engrossing, Downward to the Earth is a novel of endless wonder and amazement.
***** out of *****
on 13 December 2009
This is an amazing book. It's a page turning adventure, but also a great character portrayal of a man who is racist but doesn't know it, and manages to redeem himself. There's also some poignant comments on the human race and isolated human souls.