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Earthling Hardcover – November 15, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (November 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312855710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312855710
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,758,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Who isn't a sucker for a good robot story? Few sci-fi fans can resist such a staple of the genre, especially when it's done well, and the first section of Tony Daniel's three-part Earthling stands shoulder to shoulder with the best. Daniel is an able and imaginative writer, and his gentle, curious mining robot Orf is a bona fide charmer. Reactivated for a deep-digging geological research project, Orf is imbued with the memories of a dead geologist and acclimatizes himself to the world like a wide-eyed, articulate child, observing mating moths with the same detached fascination as he does a cold-blooded murder.

Although the poetry-loving Orf is the novel's common thread, he ceases to be its focus after the first section. That part closes when Orf discovers sentient beings ("terranes") in the Earth's mantle, and cataclysmic earthquakes and flooding destroy the northwestern U.S., plunging the world into chaos. As exciting as all that may sound, these portentous events signal only the unraveling of Earthling's patchwork narrative. The disappointing middle section follows the harrowing--and gory--journey of a Park Service ranger (the Park Service being just another warring, post-apocalyptic tribe) delivering medical supplies to California. Earthling's third and final section nearly--but not quite--salvages the novel, fast-forwarding to the year 3000, where society "trances" across the galaxy and studies the Earth not as an organism but as a piece of art. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

An intelligent mining robot who calls himself Orpheus ("Orf") disappears underground (where he finds living rock) after the last human he cares about dies. Years later Jarrod, one of the park rangers protecting the forest from the loggers, mother earth ("mattie") farmers, and coastal nomads, dreams of Orf while Orf dreams of Jarrod. In the 31st century, Orf returns to the surface to await the arrival of the dreaded "chunk" from space. Daniel (Warpath, Tor, 1993. o.p) leaves too many holes in his disjointed story line, dropping promising threads to offer a glimpse into the future without explaining how it came to be. Orf is the thin glue that barely holds the novel together. Not recommended.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By B. Newland on March 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
There's no getting around it - this book was terrible. From the beginning it is nearly incoherent. There is no real introduction of characters (and characters are invented for a single page then dropped). There's no scale. After the dated entries I could never be sure what century it was placed in. And it jumps from a personal journal to a robot to a random human hundreds of years in the future to... well, I can't even describe the finale. The tectonic plates are *spoiler* sentient? Planets are dolphins?

In short, Avoid this book at all costs. Not worth the read. The author needs to pick a character and focus on it.
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By Michael Arend on May 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book for the most part. The first two stories were real page turners, but the third (the last 30 pages) felt rushed and was a bit to metaphysical for me. The ending is forced and hardly and ending to the story as a whole. I would have like to see the first two stories made into books of their own and the third thrown in the bin.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This was a surprising, fascinating read. I am turned on by his stark, earthy and pure poetry. Daniel is immensely imaginative, intelligent and courageous writer. I was moved and inspired. I definitely enjoyed 'Earthling'. Looking forward to the sequel of 'Metaplanetary'- another must read!
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More About the Author

Tony Daniel is the author of five science fiction books, the latest of which is Guardian of Night, as well as an award-winning short story collection, The Robot's Twilight Companion. He is Hugo finalist for his story "Life on the Moon," which also won the Asimov's Reader's Choice Award. Daniel's short fiction has been much anthologized and has been collected in multiple year's best compilations. Daniel has also cowritten screenplays for SyFy Channel horror movies and during the early 2000s was the writer and director of numerous audio dramas for critically-acclaimed SCIFI.COM's Seeing Ear Theatre. Born in Alabama, he has lived in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Seattle, Prague, and New York City. Daniel is currently an editor at Baen Books. He is married and has two children.