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Echoes of Earth (The Orphans Trilogy Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Sean Williams , Shane Dix
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

On an alien world a very long way from home, Peter Alander is going out of his mind.

The Frank Tipler is just one of a thousand survey vessels sent out into the bubble of space surrounding Earth, seeking habitable worlds and signs of advanced life. Its crew has stumbled across artifacts left behind by a benevolent trader species, but the decision to study them is fraught with danger and uncertainty. The Tipler's crew consists of forty flawed electronic copies of human beings, some of them profoundly damaged—and Earth stopped responding to signals over a century ago.

Caught between madness and political machinations, Alander stands on the brink of what might be the greatest discovery humanity has ever made—and a gift that humanity can’t afford to accept.

“ECHOES OF EARTH is a dazzling adventure, sweeping the reader along from marvel to wonder, and it includes one of the most heart-stopping moments I've encountered in a novel in years.” —Jack McDevitt

“[The] book can't be discussed or even described without spoiling some of the surprises, which are mutually reinforcing as well as juicy in themselves. I will, however, give in to the temptation to drop a few more of the names that came to mind as I was reading: the Three Gregs (Bear, Benford, Egan), Linda Nagata, and Frederik Pohl…. As the first of a series... ECHOES promises to rev its Ideas right past the red-line and drive them hard.” —Locus

“The science in Dix and Williams’s work shines, entrancing with its glitter and innovation… and you won’t find any of their novels without fully-fleshed out characters, complex plots, vivid settings and thoughtful exploration of issues.” —SF Site

“The authors have already made a name for themselves as writers of intelligent space opera, and ECHOES OF EARTH is sure to further bolster that reputation. The book is chock full of marvelous events, cosmic significance, mysterious alien motivations, and the wonder of outer space.” —Science Fiction Chronicle

Winner of the Ditmar Award. 

Books In This Series (3 Books)
Complete Series

  • Product Details

    • File Size: 776 KB
    • Print Length: 436 pages
    • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (April 1, 2014)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00J90EISC
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Lending: Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,833 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    3.9 out of 5 stars
    3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Cool Ideas December 20, 2003
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    This is the first volume in a series? Trilogy? I dunno. I can say that at least two more books follow it.
    So once again, it's the future: 2165 or around about that. It appears that by 2050, Earth had become all peaceable and stuff and also monstrously prosperous, thanks to technology. So everyone became real keen on exploring space. 'Cept that it would be really expensive and not terribly feasible to send human crews blasting around for hundreds of years to reach our nearest neighbors. So engram crews were sent instead: super-complex software recreations of actual people, or bodiless clones, if you will. This meant that the ships just basically had to be flying computers with some nanofacturing capabilities to build stuff at the destination. Also the engrams could basically ride along in stand-by mode, more or less sleeping, so as to not, you know, flip out through the sheer boredom of the long voyage.
    Well, at this here one distant destination, many light years away, and a hundred years after launch time, one engram does wig out over the basic disconnect over "my memories tell me I am Peter but really I know I am a computer program in a VR environment". So his crew dumps him in an android body on the planet's surface and tells him to just kind of putter about at the base camp there and stay out of their way. They get no transmissions from Earth, so obviously something happened during the trip and the home planet cannot or will not talk to them (although of course any real-time communications would be out of the question due to the years-long time lag).
    A coupla years later, the engrams are just minding their business and building robo-facilities and exploring and stuff, when, within a day, a bunch of linked orbital towers get connected via space elevator to the surface.
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    16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Beware of Aliens Bearing Gifts December 28, 2002
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    Echoes of Earth is the first novel in a new series. It is the story of the destruction of civilization in the Solar System and the discovery of aliens with greatly superior technology, combining elements of Allen's Ring of Charon, Vinge's Marooned in Real Time, Williamson's Manseed and Pohl's Heechee series.
    In 2050, Earth begins to send out 1000 exploration ships containing engrams, cybernetic personality simulations, rather than actual humans. All the engram crews are based on only 60 personalities. One of these engrams, based on Peter Stanmore Alander, is particularly unstable, but all break down within a few decades.
    The engram ship Frank Tipler has the mission to Upsilon Aquarius. In 2160, the ship reaches its target and the engram crew begins their mission to study the solar system. They had lost communications with Earth shortly after they left, but are confident that Earth will contact them later. Alien ships suddenly enter the UA system and build 10 orbital towers -- beanstalks -- and an interconnecting ring in only a few hours as the engrams watch. Peter Alander, who has been permanently assigned an android body to slow down his personality deterioration, enters an alien device at the bottom of one tower and is carried up to orbit. There he encounters the Gifts, 11 artificial intelligences who control the advanced technology provided by the aliens as gifts to the less advanced humans. Among these gifts are devices to communicate and travel faster than light.
    The Gifts are programmed to obey only one person -- Peter Alander -- among the crew; the aliens, who the engrams call Spinners, apparently want the Gift recipients to absorb the new technology slowly to reduce cultural shock.
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    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe It's Just Me November 23, 2003
    Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
    Maybe it's just me, but I found this book hard to really like. It has some good elements: the aliens are intriguing and so is the technology, both human and alien. The premise of humans exploring beyond the solar system, encountering technologically superior aliens, and dealing with the consequences of such an encounter all appealed to me. Nor can I complain about the pace of the book. Events moved along and there was enough action to keep me involved. On the other hand, the story always had something of a cold, impersonal feel for me. I found it impossible to really care about the principal characters, most of whom are computer "engrams" (i.e. programmed personalities based on real people who remained back on Earth). These engrams run the starships while "inhabiting" a virtual environment within the starship computers. A "dead" engram is just a deleted program when all is said and done, and I just couldn't get emotionally involved with that. Further, what is done to humanity and to Earth, both by aliens and by ourselves and our own technology, felt both far-fetched and improbably grim to me.
    I read this book all the way through but, while it was interesting, I can't say that I liked it very much by the time I got to the end. Intellectually stimulating perhaps, but not emotionally satisfying. Some readers will like it a lot, I'm sure, but I had a very mixed reaction to it. At this point, I'm not sure if I will read the next book in this series or not. I can't give ECHOES OF EARTH a strong recommendation. Proceed at your own risk.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkably Fresh Tangent on an Older Theme, A Must Read!
    This is very good original Sci-Fi. You are immediately immersed in futuristic technology that allows starships to reach distant "Goldilocks" planets at sub-light speed. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by Severian
    3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
    Published 6 months ago by thomas bell
    2.0 out of 5 stars This book was hard to follow, with pages of ...
    This book was hard to follow, with pages of dialog going by before a character would take action. Also, the main character was a weak and petty individual who I was hoping would... Read more
    Published 6 months ago by Hard Sci-Fi Guy
    3.0 out of 5 stars I think that people interested in more psychological dramas and...
    I think that this book as interesting ideas and it is written well, but I could not read it to save my life. I had to put it down even after skipping more and more text. Read more
    Published 7 months ago by L. Pesce
    5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly mind expanding
    For me, this book recaptures what I particularly enjoy about Science Fiction; lots of mind expanding ideas set in the near future as humanity begins to explore our galaxy. Read more
    Published on October 2, 2011 by Neil G. Matthews
    2.0 out of 5 stars Not particularly good
    This book is full of half realized fantastical ideas that it doesn't back up at all.
    It pretty much loses its own thread and concentrates on some kind of existential crisis... Read more
    Published on April 5, 2011 by Jim Penname
    2.0 out of 5 stars Oh My God
    How did this book get published?

    Alright, let me be fair as I can be ... the writing (use of language, forms, syntax) was good if not great, but the story in general... Read more
    Published on December 19, 2009 by MuleHeadJoe
    3.0 out of 5 stars Australian SF Reader
    Exploratory spaceships from Earth are crewed by digitised personalities. 110 years after it left, one such ship encounters alien ships. Read more
    Published on July 31, 2007 by Blue Tyson
    5.0 out of 5 stars Epic science fiction story with unusual protagonists
    _Echoes of Earth_ by Sean Williams and Shane Dix in the opening pages introduces us to the character Peter Alander, a member of the deep space survey ship _Frank Tipler_. Read more
    Published on July 19, 2005 by Tim F. Martin
    5.0 out of 5 stars A gift or a curse?
    A engram crew of a survey ship runs into an alien race that likes to leave gifts. This gifts take many forms, mostly in the form of information or high-tech wonders. Read more
    Published on July 10, 2004 by Michael Valdivielso
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    More About the Author

    Sean Williams is the author of thirty-five novels, eighty short stories and the odd odd poem. He writes across the field of science fiction and fantasy for adults, young adults and children, and enjoys the occasional franchise, too, such as Star Wars and Doctor Who. His work has won awards, debuted at #1 on the New York Times hardback bestseller list, and been translated into numerous languages. His latest series is Troubletwisters, co-written with Garth Nix. Visit him online at

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