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Earth Made of Glass Mass Market Paperback – Mar 15 1999

3.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction (March 15 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812551613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812551617
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.7 x 17.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,599,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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.

From Booklist

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.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I just finished re-reading Earth Made of Glass and then the third book in the series, The Merchants of Souls.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It sounds cliched but this probably isn't the best place to start with John Barnes. He seems to excel at smaller novels, probably because he can present the idea, write an interesting situation around it and throw in some characters and jumble the plot around and everything just works out fine because he keeps it nice and simple. When he shoots for the more complex stuff though, he doesn't make out as well. Case in point, this here novel . . . itself a sequel to the excellent A Million Open Doors, this makes a valiant attempt to deepen and further the scenario given in that book, and for the most part succeeds. Barnes has to be given credit for ambition, because what he attempts here is to give a in depth look at manufactured cultures and deep seated hatreds and tries to find solutions. However his ambition tends to outstrip him here, unfortunately. He brings back the Giraut and Margaret from the first book, now married and when the book starts their marriage is beginning to fall apart. Again, he gets credit for broaching the subject in SF, a place generally not associated with such things . . . but he tends to beat the subject to death. In the beginning of the book every scene they have together turns into childish bickering and Margaret is even worse . . . I don't remember her that clearly from the first book but I don't remember her being this annoying, she acts completely unreasonable, starts fights for no reason, all while a confused Giraut basically stands back and wonders, "What did I do?" . . . which is the same question the reader has.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The one thing that you can unequivocally say about John Barnes is that he has exciting ideas. Great, wonderful concepts that if properly executed would form some classic sci fi novels. The disappointing part is that he tends to fall flat on his face when it's time for execution. Especially disappointing are his endings and how he tends to rush through them.
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.
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