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Color Of Distance [Mass Market Paperback]

Amy Thomson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 11 2002
"The Color of Distance is an off-world tale of first contact and discovery, a long and loving evocation of a complex alien ecology...impassioned."--The Washington Post Book World

"An energetic and entertaining first contact novel, complete with charming, strange, dangerous aliens."--Vonda N. McIntyre

"Fast-paced, suspenseful science fiction."--Voya

"Deeply felt and closely imagined."--Mary Gentle

* Amy Thomson is a national bestselling author and winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

* The Color of Distance was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award for Best Paperback Original Novel

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Product Description

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Juna is the sole survivor of a team of surveyors marooned in the dense, uninhabitable Tendu rainforest. Her only hope for survival is assimilation into the amphibian Tendu species. Now she must take on their life--and their fears--in a frightening world of alien possibilities. Amy Thomson's first novel, Virtual Girl, won the John W. Campbell award.

A portion of the proceeds of this book will be contributed to rainforest conservation. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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First Sentence
ANI WAS GATHERING tender bibbi shoots when a patch of white on the distant forest floor caught her eye. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A good effort, but hollow Jan. 1 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I seem to be the lone voice of dissent here...
Well, Thomson *does* do a great job of creating a complex world with an ecology as rich and diverse as that of Herbert's Dune, but she fails to create any deeper meaning. Her book is pretty and delicious, but there is no substance beneath all the fluff. For all their apparent differences, the Tendu are disappointingly human. I bought this book anticipating a fresh look at alien first contact. Instead, I found a rather slow story about a woman who learns to "go native" in an alien society that's obviously modeled on earth's native tribes. What killed the book is that the aliens aren't really alien. Perhaps for many readers that is part of its charm, but not for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant linguistic and first contact novel July 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a fantastic first contact novel. The alien culture was truly alien--not just some projection of some aspect of current Earth cultures as is the case in almost every book about aliens I've ever read. Amy has truly created a race distinct from humans and based on a realistic interaction with the environment based on sound evolutionary principles. And to top it off, a completely unique and wonderful linguistic system--what a joy! Additionally, the book was , in my opinion, amoral. It did not take sides and mark any practice as "evil" or "good," though it did realistically show how people in each race (human or tendu) may interpret various practices that way. It was wonderfully refreshing. The many interesting twists on first contact were also appreciated--the human turned alien, the alien tendu turning the tables on the arrogant humans (who assumed they had to protect the tendu from them), the hero's realism (she wasn't a superhero but did manage to persevere), etc. Thank you. Can't wait to go read the sequel.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but not what I was expecting June 2 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I hate false advertising. I went into this book expecting (justifiably, from various reviews and blurbs) a story about a woman who faces the terrifying prospect of "total assimilation" into an alien species.
Not. Juna's desertion on the alien planet isn't even permanent, only a 4 year period between when her ship leaves and when the next one is scheduled to return. She is never completely assimilated into the native Tendu culture, only enough to survive in the harsh environment, and she always remains an outsider. The Tendu are barely even alien, aside from their physical appearance (the Tendu talk with their skin, flashing colors and patterns on their own bodies, hence the reference in the title).
That said, it is a good story, and Juna's transformation, while never separating her entirely from humanity, is intriguing. The Tendu as a whole aren't particularly likable, but that's OK - are aliens really supposed to be charming? There's a lot of description - of the ecology, of the Tendu, of their culture, etc - but it's interesting stuff, nonetheless, although the "alien" jungles sound more like the Amazon rainforest on acid than anything truly unique.
Lighter fare than most first contact stories, OK but not particularly thought-provoking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book, but not for kids March 21 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What an amazing book. This book is split into sections often alternating between alien and human points of view. I found this book to be an enjoyable light read while still satisfactorily exploring its fascinating subject. Unfortunately this book contains a small amount of quite MATURE SUBJECT MATTER near the end as well as a brief yet somewhat graphic description of an alien mating. I'm sure everyone who's read the book thinks I'm being over sensitive but I'm not that old (certainly not old enough to have any experience with the stuff she's talking about) and I felt kind of uncomfortable. I found it quite shocking that she would chose to add such unnecessary details to an otherwise nice story of friendship and discovery. I still highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it, I just think that parents should think a little about how much they want their kids to know about the birds and the bees, though I'm sure they won't learn about anything they haven't already heard about at school.
PS. If you thought you'd like to read this fascinating and eye-opening book out loud to your kids the mature bits could easily be edited out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A rich world Feb. 20 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
At some point in reading this book, I found myself so engrossed in the world Amy Thomson had created I started thinking of the emotions that I was feeling in terms of colors (a way in which the alien race in this book express emotions). I was enthralled with the rich world and culture that was created by the author. I especially enjoyed the relationships between the main character and the Tendu as she begins to learn and appreciate the complex relationships that exist within the Tendu and between the Tendu and the environment.
Perhaps, as others have noted, I did not feel that the Tendu were THAT alien. I don't think that this is a bad thing though. If they were entirely alien, neither the reader nor the main character could relate to them as well as we do. Would Juna (the human main character) feel as compelled to take care of a bami (a juvenile Tendu) if the bami didn't resemble a mix of a child and eager to please puppy?
The part of the story which was most compelling to me was the changes that Juna has to undergo - both physically and psychologically in order to adapt to the world on which she finds herself stranded. I enjoyed seeing her transform as she "grew into" her new alien body and into her part in the web of the Tendu society.
Amy Thomson weaves a spell with her use of language and imagery. And I found myself captivated by her writing as well as the world that she creates. A trully enjoyable adventure!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun first contact!
Amy Thomson does a wonderful job of letting the reader discover the culture of the Tendu right alongside with the marooned Juna Saari. Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2001 by Julia Rampke
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in a while...
Wonderful book. A well thought out world complete with a fascinating ecosystem. Not for "action" fans. Read more
Published on June 17 2001 by Robin Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, Startling, and all together wonderfully Alien
I have to admit, I haven't ripped through a paperback like this in years--this novel is fascinating, puzzling, entrancing, expressive, impactful and all together alien--which is... Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2001 by "vle"
4.0 out of 5 stars Very imaginative first contact story.
Amy Thomson has created an amazingly complete and complex alien culture in "The Color of Distance. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2001 by mirope
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Encounter
I liked this book. It kept me reading and maintained my interest even though it was not what I would call intense or compelling. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2001 by AntiochAndy
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Twist
Normally, alien contact stories deal with aliens that are much more advanced, or much less advanced. In a certain sense of consideration, the Tendu are both. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2000 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Story!
I've read this book twice now and I still think it is one of the best Sci-fi books I've read. The story has a wonderful anthropological flavor. A Must Read!
Published on Dec 28 2000 by A. Webber
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVED THIS STORY
this is one of the best sf books I have read in awhile. I enjoyed that is was told through both the human and the aliens. This book made me mad, sad, and very happy. Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2000 by kt
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