Color Of Distance Mass Market Paperback – Jan 11 2002
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
While the author is advancing and has a certain political sensibility, this does not detract from the story in any meaningful way.
Overall, the interactions between the races - at least Juna and the Tendu - are fairly interesting. The others humans, as portrayed, are a bit too shallow and stereotypical to be truly interesting, and the story probably been better off without the last pages that describe the politics and maneuvering that accompany alien contact.
There are several interesting ideas that are left undeveloped, but that's not a bad thing. They would have distracted from the main focus of the story.
Overall, the book is well worth reading, with the caveat that it is very obviously leftist and pro-environmental. A modern version of _The sheep look up_ in a sense. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but worth noting.
It will be interesting to see how the book ages, as the political sensibilities that shaped it change. Check back in a dozen or two years.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Terrific for a first novel! There are a few implausibilities (like the omnipotence and omniscience of the allu-a), but more brilliant inductions (like humans being allergic to all... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jess H. Brewer
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... Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by Eric L., Yarnell
Amy Thomson does a wonderful job of letting the reader discover the culture of the Tendu right alongside with the marooned Juna Saari. Read morePublished on Nov. 13 2001 by Julia Rampke
Wonderful book. A well thought out world complete with a fascinating ecosystem. Not for "action" fans. Read morePublished on June 17 2001 by Robin Green
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 morePublished on Feb. 23 2001
Amy Thomson has created an amazingly complete and complex alien culture in "The Color of Distance. Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2001 by mirope
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 morePublished on Jan. 16 2001 by AntiochAndy