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Drowning World: A Novel of the Commonwealth Hardcover – February 4, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Foster's latest Commonwealth novel (Diuturnity's Dawn, etc.) offers the kind of sure-fire entertainment that keeps his fans coming back for more. On the distant planet Fluva, torrential rains that leave it barely habitable also make it a treasure trove of rare botanical specimens. When the human prospector Shadrach Hasselemoga crashes in a remote area, the only crew available to search for him is the warrior Jemunu-jah, one of the native Sakuntala, and the immigrant Deyzara trader, Masurathoo. This exceedingly odd couple-culturally different and physically repulsive to each other-promptly crash also. While the rescuers and the rescued are all slogging it out of the ultimate rain forest, the reptilian AAn empire is fomenting bloody trouble between the Sakuntula and the Deyzara. This leaves Commonwealth administrator Lauren Matthias in the hot seat, with refugees swarming in to her limited facilities and the bodies of the innocent piling up, with few resources to help. But it's the survivors of the rain forest who bring new knowledge that helps save Fluva, along with quick work by Matthias. The human characters are notably less developed than the aliens, and the AAn Empire is something of a straw foe these days, but the author's mastery of his exotic setting cannot be denied.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This "world" is actually a rain-drenched planet at the edge of the Commonwealth that is loaded with valuable botanicalsDand ravenous plants and animals.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Foster, Alan Dean
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345450353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345450357
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,887,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alan Dean Foster's work to date includes excursions into hard science-fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He has also written numerous non-fiction articles on film, science, and scuba diving, as well as having produced the novel versions of many films, including such well-known productions as "Star Wars", the first three "Alien" films, "Alien Nation", and "The Chronicles of Riddick". Other works include scripts for talking records, radio, computer games, and the story for the first "Star Trek" movie. His novel "Shadowkeep" was the first ever book adapation of an original computer game. In addition to publication in English his work has been translated into more than fifty languages and has won awards in Spain and Russia. His novel "Cyber Way" won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first work of science-fiction ever to do so.

Foster's sometimes humorous, occasionally poignant, but always entertaining short fiction has appeared in all the major SF magazines as well as in original anthologies and several "Best of the Year" compendiums. His published oeuvre includes more than 100 books.


Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tim F. Martin on August 12, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
_Drowning World_ is one of the most recent adventures set in Alan Dean Foster's fascinating Humanx Commonwealth setting. As in previous installments (it is not really a series as with the exception of the _Icerigger_ trilogy, they are stand-alone adventures in a shared universe), the setting is an alien world, rich with life, a native sentient species, and far from the centers of power in the Commonwealth. The planet in this novel is Fluva, the Drowning World, the "Big Wet," a rain-drenched planet covered in dense tropical forest over most of its two main continents, unique flooded forests that for all for except about a month a year are under tens of feet of water, the result of near constant rain and vast, muddy, overflowing rivers. Dry land is very rare on this world, and the native sentient race (the bipedal, arboreal, cat-like Sakuntala) as well as the two immigrant races (the numerous rather alien Deyzara and the much less numerous humans) live in the trees, on suspended walkways and buildings hanging well over the waters, though with the advent of the Commonwealth most of these walkways are made of synthetic material generally hung not from trees (as the Sakuntala traditionally did) but from sturdy pylons sunk deep into the unseen bedrock below.

A rough, dismal world by human standards, one with a vast array of dangerous predators and venomous fauna, relatively few make their home there, generally either as a result of being assigned there by Commonwealth officials for administration purposes or to make money, particularly as bio-prospectors, searching out alien biota to produce lucrative new drugs, foods, and chemicals. Most of the non-native sentient population are Deyzara, imported to work as laborers, shopkeepers, and the like from Tharce IV.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Because it seems to never stop raining, the planet Fluva has been nicknamed THE DROWNING WORLD from members of the Commonwealth. On Fluva, the wettest spot is probably Viisiiviisii Jungle where the combination of constant torrents with extreme humidity has led to one of the Commonwealth's greatest natural treasures. Exotic flora and strange animal life abound here and not anywhere else.
When bioprospector Shadrach Hasselemoga disappears while on a biological expedition on Fluva, an irritated Commonwealth Chief Administrator Lauren Mathias puts together a team to rescue the missing fool lost somewhere in the jungle. Though the right species make up the squad to include an ape-like native and a Deyzara, the rescuers vanish too. At about the same time of the second disappearance, the Sakuntala make a play for power with one goal being the genocide of the Deyzara leadership. As Deyzara refugees flee in terror, Lauren wonders whether the Sakuntala are involved in the vanishing or is her paranoia justified that the enemy reptilian empire is causing the disturbances?
Move the 1950s and 60s confrontations through third world nations between the US and the USSR into outer space and one will understand the premise of the Commonwealth series. The alien races appear real and fully developed. Few writers make other species seem so authentic as Alan Dean Foster does. The exciting story line will delight fans of the series that will enjoy the latest strife between empires through surrogates.
Harriet Klausner
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Lee Zimmerman TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 16, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One reason to explore the worlds created by Alan Dean Foster is the way he effortlessly weaves the passages of exposition -- explaining a never-seen lifeform, dissecting the evolution of a new species -- into the narrative of his stories. He's very heavy on description, and the vividness of his details actually helps bring his worlds to life "in the mind's eye."
DROWNING WORLD stands on par with his other works -- a solid cast of characters placed in an otherworldly situation forced to find compromise despite their cultural differences -- and he delivers in that respect. Lauren Matthias (sp?) serves as the head of a space-based United Nations-like "Commonweath" force trying to bring peace and commerce to Fluva, but saboteurs to the peace-process make her job more and more difficult. The downing of not one but two hovercraft in the heart of the ViisiiViisii (the Fluvian jungle), and the survivors -- each of a different species -- must find a way to work together, despite all predatory obstacles and another lifeforce (unbeknowst to them) that might also be secretly working to end their survival as well.
Presenting a message for our times in a futuristic or non-Earth setting is one of the benchmarks of science fiction, and DROWNING WORLD wades through these waters with ease. To some, it might seem simplistic, but the message is as timeless today as it will be once man ventures into the stars and discovers a world like Fluva.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Holland on May 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When I was young I read every Alan Dean Foster book that I could find. I devoured his Commonwealth stories and constantly searched for books that I had not read. It has been about twenty years since I last read one of his books, so I was quite excited when I saw Drowning World on new books shelf in my local library.
Sadly the excitement did not last past the first few chapters. The book felt stilted and lacked the sense of adventure that Foster's
books have had in the past. The story was well written, and the situation was plausible and clearly thought out, but I never found myself caring about the people in the book. Perhaps my expecteations were too high, or perhaps this is simply not one of Alan Dean foster's better works. Either way I will still eagerly
read his next book, but I doubt that I will ever reread this one.
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