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A Gift From Earth Mass Market Paperback – June 12, 1987


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Del Rey (June 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345350510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345350510
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #901,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Larry Niven has won the prestigious Hugo Award five times. He is known to millions as the premier modern author of rigorous, scientifically consistent hard SF, the champion of 'SF without a net'. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

LARRY NIVEN is the multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the Ringworld series, along with many other science fiction masterpieces. He lives in Chatsworth, California. JERRY POURNELLE is an essayist, journalist, and science fiction author. He has advanced degrees in psychology, statistics, engineering, and political science. Together Niven and Pournelle are the authors of many New York Times bestsellers including Inferno, The Mote in God's Eye, Footfall, and Lucifer's Hammer.

Customer Reviews

This is my first Niven novel and, given his popularity, I have to assume its not one of his better works.
David Bonesteel
Matthew Keller isn't part of the resistance but finds himself in the middle of a raucous party thrown by the members, with many innocents scattered among them.
M-I-K-E 2theD
Niven is a bit of a stodgy dated author his forays into sexuality etc...are nothing but a bit of a bore but he builds them up as really something.
J. Luis Madrid

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sugar Fish on August 20, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you've never read one of Niven's stories, this is probably not the one to start with. Start with the short story collections, like Tales of Known Space. But when you get hooked on his style and find that you can't get enough, do come back to it, buy it, and you will enjoy it thoroughly. It's a really fun, very well-rounded look at a colony whose founders choose, at its inception, to divide its society into haves and the have-nots.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Gossett on January 1, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Great book! It deals with all kinds of fun, interesting technologies, with enough action to keep anyone hooked. Also some really good discussion of ethics. This book is wholeheartedly suggested
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M-I-K-E 2theD on May 30, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm most familiar with Niven's novels from the 1970s and 1980 along with his excellent short story collection in Neutron Star (1968), which contains stories from 1966-1968. One story in this collection, Grendel, was published just after the release of his second novel, A Gift From Earth. Niven exhibited a skill for short SF work, but managed to produce this seamless novel akin to his first novel, World of Ptavvs (1966). Both novels take place in Niven's Known Space universe and both use forms of telepathy. These two books lay the foundation for the entire Niven bibliography, showcasing his talents at world-building and highlighting his weakness at persuading the reader.

This novel was originally serialized in three parts in early 1968 in the IF magazine. Unlike many of the serialized novels during the same time, A Gift From Earth has an excellent flow without the stopgaps that many other serializations have. There are no clear divisions between the parts, so the novel had a seamless flow throughout.

Rear cover synopsis:
"The world named Mount Lookitthat was never meant for humans--it was shrouded in lethal mists. Life only existed on one plateau, unreachable except from space. But the disastrous decision to colonize the planet could not be reversed. So the settlers survived somehow--under a ruthless dictatorship.
Mount Lookitthat was rebellion-proof.
Then fate dealt the colonists a wild card named Matthew Keller, who had a talent that neither he nor anybody else knew about.
At last the colonists had a glimmer of hope!
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1996
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Many of Niven's fans found him through Ringworld, or through
the Towering-Inferno-styled paperweights such as "Footfall"
or "Lucifer's Hammer".

A Gift from Earth" was my own introduction to Niven's Known
Space series. As in much of his early works, the panorama of
Known Space is somewhat blurry; "A Gift from Earth" takes
place primarily on the colony world of Plateau, a Venuslike
planet with a single habitable mountaintop rising above the
poisonous mists.

On Mount Lookitthat, the human colony is divided into two
castes, Crew and Colonists, and the inevitable social and
political tension between the two groups (on a colony where
criminals are taken apart for organ transplants) is the core
conflict of this novel.

In recent years, Niven's prose has, it seems to me, been
heavily overlaid with his present-day political and social
ideology (witness the "Think of it as evolution in action"
slogan of "Oath of Fealty" or the soapbox opportunities
allowed Cadmann Weyland in the Avalon novels. "A Gift from
Earth" has none of that overlay. Its protagonist,
Matt Keller, falls in with a rebel Colonist underground
almost by chance (or so he thinks), and is swept along in
the story both by events beyond his control and his own
undiscovered talents. The prose is solid, the characters
believable within this particular slice of Known Space,
and Niven even manages to get through a love scene or two
with some class.

Internal consistency within a universe which could
conceivably be is the foundation of any good science fiction
novel, and Niven acquits himself well along these lines in
"A Gift from Earth", and provides a solid easing-in to readers new to Known Space.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the earliest books in the "Known Space" Universe, 'A Gift From Earth' brings us to a struggling colony scratching out a difficult existance on a high plateau- the only habitable spot on the planet! Along with the technical gizmoes thet Sci-Fi fans love, Niven makes some interesting points on the nature of human social interaction. Niven also delves into the paranormal, in a realistic, believable manner.

I've read this book many times over the years- I keep coming back to the intriguing storyline and universe that Niven has constructed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Blue Tyson on November 28, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Invisible man wild card.

This book is set in the part of Niven's future history where organlegging as such, is very common. Set on a colony world the wealthy want access to body parts, so any crime gets you executed and recycled for their use.

Throw in a wild card superpowered outsider with basically the power to cloud men's minds and things get interesting.
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