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Terraforming Earth Hardcover – Jul 6 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (July 6 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312872003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312872007
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 15.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,959,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Williamson's characters seem incapable of judgment, generation after generation. I found their lack of common sense utterly frustrating. Led by the author's drive to embroil them in poetic and melancholy disaster, they are never allowed to exercise a maturity beyond the level of impetuous children.
Despite his agile prose, imaginative flair, and high concept, his book fails utterly at the one crucial place where a story should connect with its reader - at the human level: Do we relate to these people, are they like us? In their place, what would we do? What does each say about us all?
Over the thousands of years and multiple iterations of the same characters, stupidity seems to be a mathematical constant: every spaceflight turns to disaster for want of fuel, every safari ends in what appears a wasteful and pathetic death, every first contact in enslavement, and always due to a lack of preparation an planning easily evident to a reasonable person.
Essentially, his puppet characters simplify his narrative task by remaining incapable of using their reason, holding their tongues, and exercising a free will that would exercise caution when faced with risk. This allows Mr. Williamson to follow his muse: Their foolishness propels the narrative and opens vistas, but rings false.
Has wisdom, thought and will been bred out of these carousel horses, or does Mr. Williamson simply not care about them?
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fairly entertaining book. However the plot is very similar to the plot in Stephen Baxter's "Space". The basis for the plot is, however, so much more solid in Baxter's book.
The ending of the book is very abrupt. It seems like Williamson runs out of ideas, and hurrily tries to gather his stuff and leave.
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By A Customer on May 6 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is really four novelettes retrofitted around "The Ultimate Earth," a novelette which (inexplicably) won all sorts of awards. Like a lot of "novels" that are jury-rigged around extended short stories, this one has all the weaknesses and few of the strengths that other such novels have. (The best novel of this kind is Fred Pohl's Years of the City, a clear masterpiece.) I found the only good section of this book to be the first. It sets up a remarkable premise and sets about unfolding it rather well. But by the time the book ends, you really don't know who is who and the far future earth seems more like modern-day Africa. Not a single imaginative trope in sight.
This would be an excellent first book, however. Unfortunately, it isn't. The five star ratings this book has received clearly are given to the man and not the work. This isn't a good place to start with one's reading of Jack Williamson.
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Format: Hardcover
Terraforming Earth is a first person perspective story about what happens in the long run after a major collision with Earth. The original plot is very interesting and it keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen. The main characters each have their own personalities and every time they are reborn they follow their same path with a few different variations each time. The new characters who are added into the story later in the book help keep the story from getting boring.
Jack Williamson still has creative ideas even as he is getting older. He changes the direction of the story it seems in the middle and a few times later so that it doesn't get too repetitive. You start to really like a few of the characters and hate a few of the others. I rarely like any books that are first person perspective but this book protrayed the story as if the narrator was indifferent to what was happening. He just told it like it was instead of bogging the story down with his thoughts and emotions. It did not get a five star because some of the story seemed very pointless and the ending was kind of weird. But the story keeps you anxious to see what will happen from their actions when they are born again.
Bottom line- Good plot but a little repetitive although the repetition is what makes it interesting. Four stars.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book in one sitting. Sadly, not because it was so good, but because I read page after page hoping the book would live up to the promise of the topic and of the author's name.
It didn't. Had the book come from any "lesser" author, I would have settled for 3 stars. But coming from Williamson it was such a let-down I can only give it 1 star.
The characters were unlikeable, indecisive caricatures.
- The perky Hispanic pilot/engineer stereotype who drops some Spanish exclamation more often than Scotty saying "the engines cannae tek it, cap'n". Asexual it seems, or such a sideshow token that the author doesn't care whether he has a love life or not.
- The domineering bully Teuton/Norse who really is a coward - and yet always attracts the girls and becomes the alpha-male. Being German myself this pathetic cartoon really grated.
- The intelligent can-do Asian scientist woman who just can't help herself falling for the Germanic guy above. Or declaring her love for the narrator, but still jumping into bed with alpha-hombre (no not the Hispanic guy)
- The dreamy librarian girl, unattractive and caring only for her books. But she often as not ends up in a menage a troi with the previous two.
- The Asian-African-American who forces himself on to the crew to escape the original Armageddon with his girlfriend. Probably the most likeable of the unlikeable bunch, though his obsession with his girlfriend takes on "Jungian archetype" elements in the way he nearly deifies her. (and the books ending doesn't help that one bit).
- His girlfriend, the goddess-whore stereotype. Saint Mary Magdalene. Nuff said.
- And finally, our narrator, who never seems to DO anything.
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