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Drowning World [Mass Market Paperback]

Alan Dean Foster
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 4 2003 Founding of the Commonwealth
Alan Dean Foster doesn’t just build worlds, he creates entire universes. Book by book, his star-spanning saga of the Humanx Commonwealth has evolved into one of science fiction’s most notable achievements. Filled with rigorously imagined aliens and sophisticated cultures, spiced with humor and passion, and driven by relentless adventure and intrigue, Foster’s remarkable Commonwealth series just keeps getting better.

They call it the Drowning World. It is Fluva, a planet on the fringes of the Commonwealth where it rains torrentially, ceaselessly, and maddeningly for all but one month of the Fluvan year. Chief Administrator Lauren Matthias is fairly new to the position. Her primary goal: keeping Fluva’s indigenous species, the warlike Sakuntala and immigrant species, the timid but hard-working Deyzara, from annihilating one another.

The wettest place on Fluva is Viisiiviisii, an immense, mostly unexplored jungle. Thanks to the endless rains and humid conditions, exotic animals and plants have thrived there, many of them deadly predators. Yet the same evolutionary process responsible for creating toxic creatures has made the jungle a treasure trove of undiscovered botanicals potentially useful in engineering everything from pharmaceuticals to perfumes. A man can get rich there. Or die trying.

Bio-prospector Shadrach Hasselemoga has come to the jungle to get rich— if he survives the terrain once his sabotaged ship goes down. When a Sakuntala and a Deyzara are dispatched by Matthias to rescue the unfortunate soul, their ship crashes, too. Now, in order to survive, the three unlikely allies must do something that no one has ever done before: walk out of the Viisiiviisii.

Meanwhile, in what passes for civilization, long-simmering tensions between Sakuntala and Deyzara erupt into violence, threatening Matthias’s official position of neutrality—and her life. Behind the violence, Matthias detects a mysterious presence, one related to Shadrach’s disappearance. But how are the two related? The answer, when it comes, will send shock waves through the entire Commonwealth . . . and beyond.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Foster's latest Commonwealth novel (Diuturnity's Dawn, etc.) offers the kind of sure-fire entertainment that keeps his fans coming back for more. On the distant planet Fluva, torrential rains that leave it barely habitable also make it a treasure trove of rare botanical specimens. When the human prospector Shadrach Hasselemoga crashes in a remote area, the only crew available to search for him is the warrior Jemunu-jah, one of the native Sakuntala, and the immigrant Deyzara trader, Masurathoo. This exceedingly odd couple-culturally different and physically repulsive to each other-promptly crash also. While the rescuers and the rescued are all slogging it out of the ultimate rain forest, the reptilian AAn empire is fomenting bloody trouble between the Sakuntula and the Deyzara. This leaves Commonwealth administrator Lauren Matthias in the hot seat, with refugees swarming in to her limited facilities and the bodies of the innocent piling up, with few resources to help. But it's the survivors of the rain forest who bring new knowledge that helps save Fluva, along with quick work by Matthias. The human characters are notably less developed than the aliens, and the AAn Empire is something of a straw foe these days, but the author's mastery of his exotic setting cannot be denied.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

This "world" is actually a rain-drenched planet at the edge of the Commonwealth that is loaded with valuable botanicalsDand ravenous plants and animals.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars World Gone Wet March 16 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One reason to explore the worlds created by Alan Dean Foster is the way he effortlessly weaves the passages of exposition -- explaining a never-seen lifeform, dissecting the evolution of a new species -- into the narrative of his stories. He's very heavy on description, and the vividness of his details actually helps bring his worlds to life "in the mind's eye."
DROWNING WORLD stands on par with his other works -- a solid cast of characters placed in an otherworldly situation forced to find compromise despite their cultural differences -- and he delivers in that respect. Lauren Matthias (sp?) serves as the head of a space-based United Nations-like "Commonweath" force trying to bring peace and commerce to Fluva, but saboteurs to the peace-process make her job more and more difficult. The downing of not one but two hovercraft in the heart of the ViisiiViisii (the Fluvian jungle), and the survivors -- each of a different species -- must find a way to work together, despite all predatory obstacles and another lifeforce (unbeknowst to them) that might also be secretly working to end their survival as well.
Presenting a message for our times in a futuristic or non-Earth setting is one of the benchmarks of science fiction, and DROWNING WORLD wades through these waters with ease. To some, it might seem simplistic, but the message is as timeless today as it will be once man ventures into the stars and discovers a world like Fluva.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Cold War" in outer space Jan. 31 2004
Because it seems to never stop raining, the planet Fluva has been nicknamed THE DROWNING WORLD from members of the Commonwealth. On Fluva, the wettest spot is probably Viisiiviisii Jungle where the combination of constant torrents with extreme humidity has led to one of the Commonwealth's greatest natural treasures. Exotic flora and strange animal life abound here and not anywhere else.
When bioprospector Shadrach Hasselemoga disappears while on a biological expedition on Fluva, an irritated Commonwealth Chief Administrator Lauren Mathias puts together a team to rescue the missing fool lost somewhere in the jungle. Though the right species make up the squad to include an ape-like native and a Deyzara, the rescuers vanish too. At about the same time of the second disappearance, the Sakuntala make a play for power with one goal being the genocide of the Deyzara leadership. As Deyzara refugees flee in terror, Lauren wonders whether the Sakuntala are involved in the vanishing or is her paranoia justified that the enemy reptilian empire is causing the disturbances?
Move the 1950s and 60s confrontations through third world nations between the US and the USSR into outer space and one will understand the premise of the Commonwealth series. The alien races appear real and fully developed. Few writers make other species seem so authentic as Alan Dean Foster does. The exciting story line will delight fans of the series that will enjoy the latest strife between empires through surrogates.
Harriet Klausner
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting world but simplistic solutions March 5 2003
It rains all the time on the dismal world of Fluvan, and fast-evolving parasite forms make survival an always dubious proposition. But that doesn't stop the natives from wishing to get rid of the fast-breeding Deyzara. Generations before, the Commonwealth, imported the elephant-trunked Deyzara to handle the work that the proud Sakuntala natives refused to undertake. Now the Deyzara run the shops, own the businesses, and enjoy closer relations with the human overlords than do the Sakuntala themselves. Genocide will bring down horrible consequences, yet simply ignoring the threat will lead to improverishment and eventual elimination of the Sakuntala from their own world.
Human Administrator Lauren Matthias has her hands full. Not only is the decades-old animosity between Sakuntala and Deyzara threatening to break into genocidal warfare, a human bio-prospector has been lost and his ship, impossibly, isn't sending signals. Finally, her hormones are being stirred to a tizzy by hunk prospector Sethwyn Case. Of course, the Commonwealth's enemies, the Aann, are always willing to take advantage of any problems, and problems Matthias, and the entire planet, have in plenty.
Author Alan Dean Foster creates an interesting world with Fluvan and its ultra-competitive life forms. By switching back and forth from the political (in the person of Matthias) and personal (in the person of the lost prospector and the Deyzara/Sakuntala rescue team sent to find him), Foster lets the reader see the world's problems at multiple levels.
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