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Earth Mass Market Paperback – May 1 1991

4.1 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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99 by Wayne Gretzky 99 by Wayne Gretzky

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Reprint edition (May 1 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055329024X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553290240
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 4.6 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #533,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Weaving an epic of complex dimensions, Brin ( Startide Rising ) plaits initially divergent story lines, all set in the year 2038, into an outstandingly satisfying novel. At the center is a type of mystery: after a failed murder attempt, a group of people try to save the victim, recover the murder weapon, identify the guilty party and fend off other assassins, all the while being led through n + 1 plot twists--each with a sense of overhanging doom, because the intended victim is Gaea, Earth herself. The struggle to save the planet gives Brin the occasion to recap recent global events: a world war fought to wrest all caches of secret information from the grip of an elite few; a series of ecological disasters brought about by environmental abuse; and the effects of a universal interactive data network on beginning to turn the world into a true global village. Fully dimensional and engaging characters with plausible motivations bring drama to these scenarios. Brin's exciting prose style will probably make this a Hugo nominee, and will certainly keep readers turning pages.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Brin uses the escape of a manmade black hole that is eating away at the Earth's core and a plausible future of sophisticated, instant universal and global computer data linkage and retrieval to reexamine, explore, and expand upon the themes regarding genetic creation and advancement begun in Star tide Rising (1983) and The Uplift War (1987, both Bantam). There is an element of suspense and intrigue as the characters scramble to define, find, and solve the black hole damage before each other and before it's too late. Although less engaging than the previously mentioned books, this is timely in its investigation of current ecological issues and includes a welcome annotated bibliography and list of environmental organizations and addresses. --Joan Lewis Reynolds, West Potomac High School, VA
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
As he says in the introduction, Earth is David Brin's most optimistic view of what the future will look like. The fact that the planet he depicts is on the knife edge of environmental collapse and disaster shows us just how serious he believes our current problems are. This book could be classified into many different sci-fi subgenres; the Dystopian Future, the emergence of the Singularity, and of course the standard Planet in Peril storyline. The wrecked and dying planet provides the dystopian feel, and the discovery of a miniature black hole in the interior of the Earth gives the characters a deadline and a problem to solve. (I won't spoil the Singularity storyline.)
The characters in the book are realistic enough, but in some cases entirely too sane and well adjusted to be interesting. The three most interesting characters are a trio of teenagers who only appear in short blurbs in between major sections, while the ostensibly main characters have predictable, reasonable, plausible emotional reactions to the craziness going on around them.
The reach of the story is impressive, but it relies on several gimmicks for resolution that leave one feeling a little disappointed. Although this book was obviously meant to have several parallel storylines all but one of them is somewhat neglected. When one of these side stories turns out to be key in the resolution of the book the reader can be forgiven for wondering why it wasn't given more focus, or at least a more convincing lead-up and explanation.
Despite all this, David Brin is a very talented author, and this book is an enjoyable read. Coming from anyone other than the author of the Uplift books I would have expected less and been more pleased. If you've never read a book by Brin before start out with Startide Rising or The Uplift War first.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In Earth, David Brin has managed to place me in a juxtaposition, as a reader. In half of the near-future portrayed in Earth, life is dismal, and the characters are resigned each to a diminished existence amidst a humanity submissive to Gaia. On the other hand, there happen to be situations and characters that drew me in, that I wanted to be part of. This book seems to be Brin's answer to Gore's Earth in the Balance. All of our worst nightmares about humankind's destruction of the planet have come true, and it is this grim outlook that hangs like smog over an excellent science fiction tale that seems like slim pickings during the reading, but shines in retrospect.

In desirable morsels between the dreary passages, Brin explores the possibility of a black hole being accidentally released on the surface of the Earth. Initially, it is a microscopic "singularity", and slips through the crust to eventually orbit our planet's core. Theoretically, it would consume the Earth's mantle for years until this 3rd rock from the sun implodes--over 80% of the Earth's mass being consumed in the final few minutes. Of course, David Brin is too brilliant for it to be left so simple a problem, which is why Earth is as intriguing a mystery as it is science fiction.

In typical Brin style, all the stops are pulled out for the climax. That includes the wildly unexpected. Regular readers of Brin won't be surprised at the feeling that they've stepped into a completely different tale when the lengthy, exciting climax erupts
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you're looking for a tight plotline, look elsewhere. It seems no mistake that even the book's title is reminiscent of a Michener novel. However, as with Michener's historical retrospectives, this book provides a richly detailed historical and futuristic perspective of our planet as a complete, arguably biological system in which human society plays a historically small but not insignificant role.
This is a cautionary tale of man's innate ability to destroy or save the earth. However, it's written in a pratical and reasoned tone rather than the alarmist tone often associated with today's environmental debates. (Even environmentalists are not always portrayed positively in this story.) It is, a wholistic look at the world's future, incorporating rich details soundly rooted in the sciences of biology, geology, astronomy, physics, and even sociology. (see the other reviews here for more details of the plot.) Extraneous plot aside, this book is an important, thought-provoking work for those interested in gaining perspective on today's environmental debates - whatever your ideological camp.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
An amazing pre-sentient work, Earth explores the world fifty years from now with astonishing accuracy and vividness. Writing before the development of the world wide web, Brin describes nearly completely what we have today, and will likely in forty years, with a world culture dependent on the web for all it's information. It is a possible future, but a very likely one. Here, there is mandatory time spent on the net, as it is too important for survival, and though one may not have enough for food in the next day, still access to the world web is free. With this and the ever presence of personal vid-cams has come the complete death of privacy. Warming has continued apace, and so Bangladesh and the Maldives are gone, with floating cities to take their place. The world has finally realized the importance of the environment- only because it is forced to- and dropping a cup in the water can get you prison time. White folks are in trouble especially from the lack of ozone layer, and new religions have arisen- Gaiaism and interestingly neo-Raism, with the recognition of the sun as a power that can destroy lives through skin cancer.
I have to reduce this from five stars only because the last quarter of the book becomes more magic than science fiction or scientific realism, and the improbabilities become too great. But I would highly recommend this work for the vision of a very likely future which we should all be prepared for.
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