Earth Made of Glass Mass Market Paperback – Mar 15 1999
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In a sequel to A Million Open Doors, John Barnes writes another novel in the universe of the Thousand Cultures. Humanity dwells in colonies (some natural and some artificial) spread over hundreds of planets that lost touch with each other for over a thousand years. Due to the invention of the springer, an instantaneous teleportation device, the worlds are communicating again. But after centuries of isolation, reunification results in intense cultural and economic stress.
Giraut and Margaret, characters from the earlier book, are now a husband and wife diplomatic team for the Council of Humanity. They also do clandestine work for the Office of Special Projects, an undercover organization that deals with serious problems that result when local governments prove intractable. Their next assignment: promote peace and cooperation on Briand, a hellish planet whose physical hostility is matched only by the hatred its two cultures show to each other.
Tamil Mandalam was founded by classical Tamils, and Kintulum was founded by classical Mayans. Tamils believe themselves to be perfect and believe that once the springer does open Briand to humanity, they will show the rest of the universe how to live. The Mayans, when they communicate at all, apparently feel the same way. The magnificence of each culture's accomplishments in art and literature is overshadowed by citizens' bigotry.
A difficult assignment indeed; as if high gravity, high temperatures and ethnic attacks weren't enough, Giraut and Margaret's mission grows even more troublesome because of their marital problems, Margaret's depression, and the bureaucratic thick-headedness of Briand's Ambassador. --Bonnie Bouman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The sequel to A Million Open Doors (1992) begins 12 years later. Giraut and Margaret Leones, now seasoned troubleshooters for the Office of Special Operations of the Council of Humanity, are having marital difficulties. They travel to the planet Briand, where, as if the planet's near lethal environment weren't trouble enough, two of the universe's synthetic Thousand Cultures--Tamil and Maya--are at each other's throats. The Leoneses weave their way through both sides' intrigues and their own superiors' rivalries until the Maya priests create a prophet to bring a message of peace to the world. The message is going over well, when the prophet falls in love with a Tamil woman, and all hell, not to mention riots and antimatter bombs, breaks lose. Barnes writes with his usual intelligence and attention to detail, producing a book that succeeds as a character study of a troubled marriage, an exercise in world building, and an exploration of just how that old sf standby, a future where old cultures are re-created, might work in practice. Highly recommended. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Both are compellingly written and readable. The author is very good at telling stories through the viewpoint of the main character. Giraut's viewpoint is an interesting place to be.
Giraut's marriage with Margaret is in trouble, and he doesn't understand why. Previous reviews characterized Margaret's behavior as irrational and irritating. It didn't strike me that way at all.
She seemed to be behaving very reasonably by what was actually wrong: she didn't want to be married to Giraut anymore, but she still loved him as a friend, and she recognized that he still was in love with her, though she was insecure enough to consider that being in love with her was stupid of him.
Both characters were very clearly of their cultures, which the author describes and delineates beautifully so that when they are being what we might think of as obtuse, they're using different cultural markers. It might have seemed obvious to us what Margaret was doing, and how everyone else knew, but in Giraut's culture it was a duel-worthy challenge (and worse, as he would put it, "ne gens") to doubt someone's word or faith. Not something he would willingly ever do. Also in his culture, women were expected to act irrational and flighty toward men whether or not that was their nature. So he didn't really see anything peculiar about how Margaret was acting; what had been strange was her earlier Caledonian candor and straightforwardness. If he'd thought of it, he would have realized she was acting weird; he didn't think of it because, to him, her behavior seemed natural.
Barnes is a tremendous writer and I enjoy almost all his work.Read more ›
The concepts of A Million Open Doors were very promising. Humanity spreading out and colonizing worlds. Loss of communication between the colony worlds. New technology making instanteous travel possible. Earth Made of Glass is based on these same concepts, with a subplot of a marriage somehow gone wrong tied in. It's with that whole subplot that this story degenerates from an exciting tale of cultural prejudice and how technology is stirring up the pot into a story of how two people can no longer relate to each other. I'm not saying that this doesn't belong in a sci fi story. I'm saying that Barnes' inability to execute that subplot well drags the entire rest of the book down the drain.
I thought the first 100 pages of this book were GREAT! Very exciting, getting to learn about new cultures and how the instantaneous travel technology was affecting their relations. Then, Barnes goes into his standard "I will philosophize them relentlessly and they will understand the world better" mode. For example, three pages of the prophet Ix explaining while it is better to love rather than to hate is a bit much.
I wish that Barnes would collaborate with someone who would teach him to take himself a little less seriously. Also, it would be great if he could get an editor who would correct his grammer and style.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A friend of mine gave me this book as a gift. Being a sequel I figured it might be good. With over 400 pages, there had to be something interesting within. I was wrong. Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2003 by Michael Valdivielso
I have to say, after reading "A Million Open Doors," I had high hopes for this sequel. And sorry to say, I was disappointed. Read morePublished on June 2 2003 by Scott R. Lucado
This one has none of the charm of its predecessor, and the central conceit of the book -- that humans are populating the galaxy with designer cultures concocted by scholarly... Read morePublished on June 21 2001
Even though some of us SF fans (myself included) believe the genre is coming into its own as a true literary form, I think most of us mainly read the stuff because it's our... Read morePublished on Nov. 19 2000 by Pam Hanna
In Earth Made of Glass, a sequel to A Million Open Doors, Giraut and Margaret are sent to the hostile planet Briand, where two artificial human cultures have been forced to live... Read morePublished on Sept. 20 2000 by Richard R. Horton
I liked Barnes work enough to get his entire catalog on the basis of Mother of Storms. Reading this made me consider never buying another one of his books again, as I cannot trust... Read morePublished on Sept. 24 1999 by Scott Ellsworth
I started to read this, saw how good it was, stopped so I could read "A Million Open Doors" first (wise decision) and then went on. Read morePublished on May 31 1999 by Stephen C. Ehrmann
Huh, was I the only reader who didn't figure out about Margaret till the end? Poor Giraut. This book, strangely, worked for me. Read morePublished on May 30 1999
Who is John Barnes? Is he Neal Stephenson? Harry Harrison? William Goldman? Jack Vance? Andre Norton? Robert Heinlein? Kim Stanley Robinson? I'm confused. Read morePublished on May 8 1999 by joe_n_bloe