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The Alien Years [Hardcover]

Robert Silverberg
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 23 1998
This major science fiction epic by an award-winning author tells the story of a California family and their struggle against a chillingly powerful alien presence. Radio features.

Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Silverberg (Sorcerors of Majipoor) returns to his 1986 short story "The Pardoner's Tale" as the inspiration for this sobering and frightening novel of extraterrestrial invasion. The narrative opens seven years hence, with the arrival of alien spaceships on Earth, an event that has a devastating effect on the Carmichael family. Pilot Michael Carmichael is killed trying to fight the huge firestorms in Los Angeles that erupt when the alien ships land; his wife, Cindy, leaps at the chance to go aboard one of the UFOs and become an interpreter for the "Entities"; and his brother, Colonel Anson Carmichael, is summoned by Washington to help cope with the situation. Before there is time to react, however, the aliens' intent becomes known as they disrupt all electricity and plunge civilization back into the Dark Ages. Silverberg's story is clear-eyed, credible and occasionally bleak. Faced with an omnipotent enemy, mankind's only alternative is to refuse to capitulate and to attempt to endure. Isolated and relatively safe in their mountain ranch, the extended Carmichael clan tries to go on with their lives while working on ways to resist their oppressors. Silverberg's technique of leapfrogging several years ahead between chapters furthers momentum, and while the enemy in his story is disturbingly inhuman, the focus of the tale is the humanity of his characters and their efforts to keep hope alive. The novel's ending seems arbitrary, but Silverberg's rich characters, his dead-on target vision of modern society, his mastery at building tension?all are in evidence in this notable outing from one of the very best. Agent: Ralph Vicinanza. (Aug.) FYI: Silverberg has won five Nebulas and four Hugos in his 44 years as an SF writer.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In the first decade of the new millennium, a sudden invasion by an alien species known only as the Entities brings about the swift and total conquest of Earth except for a small pocket of resisters led by Col. Anson Carmichael and his remarkable family. The latest novel by sf grand master Silverberg chronicles a half-century of struggle and frustration as generations of Carmichael sons and daughters strive to keep alive the concept of freedom in the face of overwhelmingly superior conquerors. Silverberg remains a superb raconteur whose patriarchal tendencies serve as a minor flaw in a remarkable study of human endurance and patience that belongs in most sf collections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, sometimes predictable Dec 9 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed this novel. It was typical family dynasty sort of thing, with good characters, many that were very well fleshed out. There was sufficient conflict within the family to keep things interesting. Some of the concepts explored in this novel seemed incomplete. At the end, when the entities simply picked up and left, I felt that something was missing. Perhaps this is to leave room for a sequel. As always, I enjoy Silverberg and this was worth my time to read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Aliens from the planet Torpor Oct. 2 2009
This is a rarity among science fiction books, an alien invasion book that is boring and lifeless. The book is more a generational saga than science fiction, and it either should have been much shorter (to get to the point sooner) or longer (to flesh out the human characters). There's no particular character you end up rooting for, and the aliens are so remote that it is almost impossible to develop any sense of suspense.
If it's alien invasions you're after, read Footfall. If you've already read it, read it again rather than waste your time with this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best of books Jan. 24 2004
By justin
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Man, what do these guys want a freakin space opera. Silverberg is amazing in this book because his story is honest. He doesn't just try to wow you with all the old cliche trick. This book isn't about the aliens this book is about the human spirit in face with tremendous odds and how mankind would get though it. This has got to be one of the best alien invasion stories ever. I recomend this book to everyone. If you want real Science Fiction on the subject and not a waste of time space opera read this book
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4.0 out of 5 stars Best Silverberg novel in years. 4+ stars Jan. 19 2004
The Alien Years" has been long in gestation - regular Silverberg
readers will recognize parts of at least 5 previously-published
stories [1], dating back to 1987. It's his best SF novel in many
years; maybe his best yet? Silverberg dedicates the book
to HG Wells - this is the centennial year of "War of the
Worlds" - and, in this 10th year after Heinlein's death, it can
hardly be coincidence that the patriarchal protagonist is named
"Anson" [2].
The Aliens land "seven years from now", touching off massive
brush fires in the LA basin and, shortly thereafter, seismic changes
in humanity's place on our home planet. The alien Entities pay
little attention to humans, but any attack on them triggers
massive retaliation. Human institutions simply fall apart after the
Conquest. This is a long way from ID4 or the optimistic
Campbellian invasions of yore . Silverberg is working in terrain
similar to Wm. Barton's "When Heaven Fell", but with a more
elegaic tone, something like "Earth Abides" -- or "Nightwings".
"The Alien Years" is told thru the viewpoints of the Carmichaels,
an old California clan headed by a patriarchal Vietnam-era
Colonel. Thru 50 years of Entity rule, the Carmichaels never quite
give up hope or the memory of freedom. They are active in a
nominal Resistance, but real resistance is almost unthinkable - the
last, futile military attack on the Entities resulted in the death of
half of humanity.
Read more ›
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1.0 out of 5 stars Fakey, preachy, predictable, awful Jan. 15 2004
I expected something epic, something wonderful and startling and captivating. What I got instead was a classic tale of the mean, old aliens (15 feet tall) landing on our beloved world, , enslaving mankind, our resistance and eventual victory (?). The problem I have with books of this sort is the utter stupidity and illogical actions of the aliens. Why in the world would a race travel trillions of miles only to enslave poor, little us? And why all the trickery and not-so-subtle movements? Surely creatures this advanced could kill us all in a few minutes and have the planet to themselves.
Then there is the group of resisters. It's a small world after all with this motley crew of multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-racial, multi-aged fighters - our own little UN of Earth folk. And despite the obvious, uh, disparity in skill level, technology and oh, about a million years of civilization, our group ekes out a tie. The ending ranks among one of the worst in modern fiction. After this LONG, not so great buildup, the aliens suddenly decide one day to pack up and leave. Seems they are lonely for the home world and decide that - hey, we spent a few trillion getting here and setting up so why not leave it all without rhyme or reason? We are back where we started, wondering and wandering about our navels and the strange way the universe acts. But we're gonna build a better world, yes-sirree! Hold your hats, partner, let me get my saw!
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2.0 out of 5 stars No payoff for the time spent reading this book Aug. 10 2003
By Jan
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Many of the reviewers have said it better than I can.
Good premise with no payoff. I slogged through pages of character development to get to a anti-climatic ending. It's one of those books that has you flipping back over the last few pages saying "that's it"?
I could understand that type of ending (Although many of the reviewers have revealed the ending I won't do that here) if
the whole novel hadn't spent most of the time implying that the humans were going to kick the alien's rear.
Waste of time.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars The Boring Years
When I first picked this the book while on holiday in Canada the back cover sounded like a real winner. However after a promising first chapter things quickly grind to a halt. Read more
Published on March 6 2003 by Terry Gibbons
1.0 out of 5 stars More holes than Swiss Cheese
There is more missing from this book than what is included. The plot's basic premise is these Aliens are so powerful that for the most part they ignore humanity, yet the book has... Read more
Published on July 24 2002 by "dolenick2"
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This book did not have a problem keeping me interested and wanting to know how earth was able to end "the alien years" as they live under the opresive rule of these strange... Read more
Published on July 13 2002 by Robert Knetsch
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, solid SF novel
Silverberg is indeed excellent at what he does - he's displayed over the years a total mastery of language and skill at drawing the reader into the story (and keeping him there). Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars The Anti-Campbell
John W. Campbell would have hated this novel. Campbell, the editor of Astounding SF magazine who published many of Silverberg's early work, and launched the careers of Isaac... Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2002 by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars The Anti-Campbell
John W. Campbell would have hated this novel. Campbell, the editor of Astounding SF magazine who published many of Silverberg's early work, and launched the careers of Isaac Asimov... Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2002 by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars "A Very Human View Of An Alien Invasion"
Robert Silverberg does a first rate job showing all human strengths and weaknesses during a 50-year alien occupation of Earth. Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2001 by John J. Rust
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid sci-fi, but not an example of Silverberg's best
The plot of this novel makes no secret of being based on H.G. Well's "War of the Worlds." In the forward, author Silverberg discusses that, for him, Well's battle between Martian... Read more
Published on July 31 2001 by Joanna Daneman
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