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Earth Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1991

3.9 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (May 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055329024X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553290240
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Brin is a scientist, public speaker and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

David's latest novel - Existence - is set forty years ahead, in a near future when human survival seems to teeter along not just on one tightrope, but dozens, with as many hopeful trends and breakthroughs as dangers... a world we already see ahead. Only one day an astronaut snares a small, crystalline object from space. It appears to contain a message, even visitors within. Peeling back layer after layer of motives and secrets may offer opportunities, or deadly peril.

David's non-fiction book -- The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? -- deals with secrecy in the modern world. It won the Freedom of Speech Award from the American Library Association.

A 1998 movie, directed by Kevin Costner, was loosely based on his post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman. Brin's 1989 ecological thriller - Earth - foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends such as the World Wide Web. David's novel Kiln People has been called a book of ideas disguised as a fast-moving and fun noir detective story, set in a future when new technology enables people to physically be in more than two places at once. A hardcover graphic novel The Life Eaters explored alternate outcomes to WWII, winning nominations and high praise.

David's science fictional Uplift Universe explores a future when humans genetically engineer higher animals like dolphins to become equal members of our civilization. These include the award-winning Startide Rising, The Uplift War, Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore and Heaven's Reach. He also recently tied up the loose ends left behind by the late Isaac Asimov: Foundation's Triumph brings to a grand finale Asimov's famed Foundation Universe.

Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction and philanthropy.

As a public speaker, Brin shares unique insights -- serious and humorous -- about ways that changing technology may affect our future lives. He appears frequently on TV, including several episodes of "The Universe" and History Channel's "Life After People." He also was a regular cast member on "The ArciTECHS."

Brin's scientific work covers an eclectic range of topics, from astronautics, astronomy, and optics to alternative dispute resolution and the role of neoteny in human evolution. His Ph.D in Physics from UCSD - the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) - followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Space Institute. His technical patents directly confront some of the faults of old-fashioned screen-based interaction, aiming to improve the way human beings converse online.

Brin lives in San Diego County with his wife and three children.

You can follow David Brin:
Website: http://www.davidbrin.com/
Blog: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DavidBrin
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/cab801

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Brin's 'Earth' takes place in the year 2038, and the portrait painted of our society 40-some years from now is so totally plausible that it's a little disturbing. By 2038, Earth's population has grown to over 10 billion, natural resources are even more depleted than they are today, and many people think that the population is on the verge of a massive crash. Brin's depiction of the way that various sectors of society deal with this concept is complex and fascinating.
Although many of the scientific aspects of the book were somewhat confusing to me, I was still able to follow the plot. I have studied quite a bit of ecology, have also had a few courses in geophysics, and I was pleased that everything Brin has included in his story is consistent with today's scientific beliefs. The structure of the novel is interesting as well; little tidbits from the general populace and their responses to the events detailed in the chapters are interspersed throughout the book.
Furthermore, the character development is excellent; many "hard" science fiction novels are more about the technology and the situations than about the characters themselves, but Brin has made his characters and their motivations very real and well-developed. Even the less important characters like Logan Eng were as detailed as the central protagonists.
There was only one thing that I did not like about this book, and that is the 'deus ex machina' (sp?) of the ending. I won't say any more because I don't want any spoilers.
'Earth' raises a lot of issues about the environment, the supposed superiority of humankind, the interconnectedness of all living things, the individual's right to privacy, and much more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read David Brin's Earth not long after it first came out, perhaps 1991 or 1992; and for whatever reason, although I enjoy Brin in general and enjoyed this book when I read it, I never got back to it. Recently I've been reading a lot of Dr. Brin's nonfiction (his essays and blog and I plan to get hold of "Transparent Society" this summer) and in the course of that reading, I came across references to a hobby of Brin fans: picking apart Earth (set in 2038) and following tech and social trends and developments in the news, to play a sort of "I Spy" with correct predictions. This intrigued me, and I decided to re-read the book. Because, after all, writing near-future stories is very hard; life tends to go off in unexpected directions and quickly date a work.

Heinlein's "For Us, The Living," which I read about a month ago, is a brilliant piece of near-future speculative fiction - and only a tiny handful of his predictions hit target. That's pretty typical. What's positively freakish about Earth is how many predictions are dead-on, having - in fifteen of the fifty years between the writing and the projected future - either come to pass or come far enough along a developmental road that their occurence in the next thirty-five years is very likely. The powerfully evoked sense of juxtaposed familiarity and alienness is exactly the feeling that I've heard elderly friends and acquaintances talk about when they describe the last fifty years - wait, how did we get here, and why didn't I notice?

Earth is a dense book, a tightly woven complexity of about eight different story lines that all turn out to be intextricably related. It's a cast of millions; there's inevitably some shallow characterization there, but the dozen or so major characters have richly distinct and diverse voices.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
For a few years I was reading Earth once a year, just like I do with Lord of the Rings. Although it's not quite on the same level, it's a wonderful sci-fi. Brin projects a fairly realistic future with real people, real problems, and the truly cool premise of dealing with a microscopic black hole orbiting the planet's core.
The Gaianism (the dominant religion of this environmentally threatened future) was a tad heavy-handed at times, but still didn't get too much into the way to like it. Interspersed with the action were excerpts from the global Net, which augmented the story in ways that reminded me of what Pohl did with Gateway. This sort of transition helped a lot to make the epic size of the book feel much more manageable.
Brin predicted a few things that, like Jules Verne long before him, have since come true or have begun to come true. Central to the book is the Net, which was no doubt based on the Internet which was only a sapling when the book was written; since then the Web has exploded and is operating much like Brin foresaw it would. He even predicted the appearance of spam and the massive, daunting problems of sifting for information online.
If all this doesn't sound interesting enough, well, there's more to say for the story. Much of the plot revolves around a small group of people--in a society heavily biased against secrecy--trying both to conceal and to eliminate the threat of a black hole within the earth. The things they discover along this road make some very interesting sci-fi; it's almost hard sci-fi at times. Meanwhile the world is full of other people somehow connected to all this, or to each other. Some know what's going on or at least that there's a conspiracy, and want to know more or to direct the course of events to their own ends.
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