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Manhattan Transfer [Kindle Edition]

John E. Stith
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

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First Published in hardcover by Tor Books and the Science Fiction Book Club.


Nebula Award nominee John E. Stith is that rare breed of science fiction writer: a master storyteller whose works put the science back into science fiction. With clever, compelling characters, fast-paced action, and hot, hard science concepts, Stith has been compared to a young Robert Forward. And MANHATTAN TRANSFER is Stith at his best.

When Manhattan--and everyone on it--is kidnapped into space by some unknown alien force, the humans trapped on the island are faced with a baffling (and terrifying) enigma. A new artificial dawn reveals that the city is encased in a bubble--resting on a vast plain, surrounded by dozens of other bubbles containing a multitude of alien cultures.

First Published in hardcover by Tor Books, 1993.

"Some ideas are just too good to pass up... the pleasure is in the nonstop action and the problem the characters must solve." – New York Review of Science Fiction.

Stephen King's "Under the Dome" TV series in 2013 uses some similar imagery, but tells a much different story.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this somewhat old-fashioned hard SF novel, aliens abruptly wrap the island of Manhattan in a cocoon, move it through space and plop it--lock, stock and populace--in the middle of an extensive plain. In the distance lie similarly transported communities, of alien origin. Civil authorities, led by the city's first black woman mayor, strive to maintain order in the face of panic and the exhortations of a religious fanatic, while techies and scientists try to find out what has occurred. An expedition to some of the other cities, led by masterful army officer Matt Sheehan and young computer genius Bobby Joe Brewster, discovers evidence that the municipalities are transported just before disaster strikes their home planets. In one such city, the expedition learns, the inhabitants have all committed suicide. On finding that the "plain" they occupy is actually part of a giant ship, the expedition attempts to contact its crew. Stith's ( Redshift Rendezvous) initial picture of disaster and some of his speculations on alien societies are intriguing, but the cliched and predictable actions of his main characters make for a dreary read.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"How can you possibly resist?... Superscience SF in the classic vein, fast-moving, heroic...loaded with sensawunda. You'll love it." -- Analog

"Some ideas are just too good to pass up... the pleasure is in the nonstop action and the problem the characters must solve." --New York Review of Science Fiction

"One of the best science-fiction novels I've read in years. Stith has always been a master of hard science fiction." -- Rocky Mountain News

"Considerable ingenuity...Think of it as a visually spectacular movie...and a really outstanding, imaginative, and professional production staff and special effects crew working to bring off the big set-pieces and guarantee the thrills." -- Locus

"Fascinating, intelligent account of people--some ordinary, some extraordinary--struggling to define and confront events that are beyond anything they have dared to imagine. One of the better surprise endings to come down the cosmos in light-years." -- Chicago Tribune

"Another blockbuster idea. A big book of spectacle, adventure and mystery, as Stith does a wonderful job of drawing out the suspense and twisting the plot in new directions." -- Denver Post

"Narrative momentum and plot nudges to keep readers guessing and turning the pages." -- Kirkus

"This is the kind of story that brought me to SF. Put a little fun back into your life and read Manhattan Transfer." -- Science Fiction Chronicle

"Welcome back to the Golden Age! John E. Stith's Manhattan Transfer is exactly the kind of novel that hooked most of us on SF in the first place: a grand sense-of-wonder premise; a breakneck pace; dozens of really neat ideas per chapter." -- Robert J. Sawyer

Product Details

  • File Size: 696 KB
  • Print Length: 394 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312852851
  • Publisher: Neverend Books reprint of Tor Books edition (May 18, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0019QUWHU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,825 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big ideas from a writer who SHOULD be a big name September 19, 1999
By A Customer
It always amazes me that John E. Stith --- author of such great books as REDSHIFT RENDEZVOUS, and this one, MANHATTAN TRANSFER --- isn't often mention in the same breath as Brin, Bear, Benford, Card, and other major SF writers. He's every bit their equal, as this story demonstrates. It's a sort of melding of KIDNAPPED and James Blish's CITIES IN FLIGHT (in that the whole city of Manhattan in kidnapped by aliens, and torn right off the planet into space). Actually, if it reminds me of any other book, it's probably Arthur C Clarke's RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA. That won a Hugo --- why didn't this?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return to hard sci-fi January 15, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although I enjoy fantasy it was really refreshing to read a hard sci-fi novel. The first few pages of the book displaying Manhattan being yanked off the Earth was absolutley fascinating. The science is first rate but not overwhelming, the way Stith weaves the story, moving between plot sequences and characters is very smooth and professional. I found the interaction with the aliens very beleivable and well defined. This guy knows how to get his ideas across and the pacing is perfect. I kept thinking over and over again how this would make a fantastic screenplay. It could have an impact like "Independence Day" but with more beleivable Physics and Science.
Highly Reccomended
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, Bewildering, Intense!! January 19, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked this book up in the library onboard the USS Santa Barbara. Friday nights in the middle of the North Atlantic can be kind of boring. The cover was quite interesting and I wasn't about to read a book on new fishing tackle. Needless to say, the next 3 days were the most excitment I had during my 9 month cruise. I had always loved hard sci-fi, but never imagined anything of this calibre existed. That was 4 years ago. Today I proudly own Mr. Stith's entire collection. His characters become your best friends as they're molded into the story. By the book's end you're paralized with shock, terror, and excitement all at once. Manhattan? Ripped from Earh. What happens? Read the book! Stith gives you every detail in picturesque painting that only he can. A must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What do you mean Manhattan is gone? May 10, 2001
I bought this book on a lark almost 5 years ago. I still reread it occasionally.
The Story follows Manhattan island in the near future, abjucted by aliens. Yup, the whole island. The book deals with the citizens of the city trying to figure out what the heck is going on and how to get out of it. I mean, who would abduct an entire city?
I found it an extremely entertaining read. The characters weren't too two dimentional, and it certainally captured the action/adventure, "Man against the universe" theme very well, with interesting (not totally cliche'd) alien interactions to boot.
It won't ever win any awards, but for a sci-fi fan, it's definately work checking out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Make Mine "MANHATTAN"! December 18, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many years ago I read a review of "Manhattan Transfer" and decided that I wanted to read it. None of the stores that I went to on Long Island carried the book. Soon I forgot all about my quest.
Recently, I decided to try finding M.T. on Amazon. THERE IT WAS!!!!
It was a treat to finally read such an interesting and original story. Yes, it would make a GREAT movie!
The story is action packed right from the start. I enjoyed the characters and explorations into alien cities.
I agree that the "Goo" digging went on for way too long. Also, some technical explainations required a bit of skimming. The submissive alien commander seemed a bit too much, but hey, it's all FICTION!
Overall, I recommend M.T. for an exciting read!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Piognant scenes November 30, 2003
Has the spirit of the Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon tales. But since the book came out, there is a poignant note for American readers. When Manhattan is captured by aliens and put inside a vast spaceship, with cities captured from other races, the humans go to the highest building to see these other cities. That building is one of those in the World Trade Center. And later, when our intrepid humans tunnel out to another alien city, they get their bearings by looking for the tallest towers of Manhattan.
If this book is even made into a movie, certain scenes will have to be altered from the book's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Whoever says that a book cannot be judged by its cover would be wrong about "Manhattan Transfer." The heart of America's greatest city is ripped out, alive and beating, and tucked away for safekeeping.
To his credit, Stith keeps the action taut and fast, allowing his New Yorkers to function within their world with the same take-life-as-it-comes attitude famed in their real-life counterparts. Not once does he give you a reason to put it down.
Stith hits pay dirt, subway tunnels, and everything else, in this uplifting and unusual science-fiction romp.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it October 27, 1999
By A Customer
It had an intriquing premise, believable characters, and a great mystery about why Manhattan was ripped out of the earth and transported into outer space. My only problem with the book is that the technical information was a little excessive, but in most parts it made the story more credible.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun sci/fi book.
Good book. Not super deep but great teen/tween sci/fi.
Published 5 days ago by A. Napier
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay.
I think the blurb inside the book compares this to a summer blockbuster film. I'd say that's accurate in that there is a fair bit of action and tension with poorly developed... Read more
Published 9 months ago by J. Walkington
5.0 out of 5 stars I never read a book twice but...
The whole island of Manhattan is kidnapped by an giant alien ship.- fast paced, creative plot with a satisfying ending. Worth your while.
Published 12 months ago by Nancy Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Such an awesome writer.
I have read every book and short story by John Stith, and he keeps amazing me with his stories. He is one of my favorite writers. Read more
Published 18 months ago by lndshrknm
5.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction the Way it was Meant to Be!
Manhattan has been stolen! Not a person named Manhattan, nor the drink, nor some objet d'art with that unlikely name. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Charles A. Ray
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
I still have my hard copy of this book. I have read it at least 5 times and have marked my favorite parts. now I have it on ebook.
Published on December 14, 2012 by maski
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, But Not A Classic
I purchased a copy of this book after another reviewer at wrote that my own novel was reminiscent of it. Read more
Published on July 29, 2012 by Timothy N. Stelly Sr.
2.0 out of 5 stars Great concept and ideas, horrible execution.
A wonderful adventure idea, with great aliens and ideas. The real unsaid scifi element is how these wooden, cookie cutter characters end up in such a cool scifi premise. Read more
Published on March 28, 2009 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts off strong but.....
The beginning of 'Manhattan Transfer' presents the reader with an innovative concept right off the bat, setting up what could be quite an interesting book. Read more
Published on January 28, 2009 by Thomas Picard
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth your time
Manhattan Transfer is a poor mix of some reasonably good hard scifi ideas with nearly trivialized surroundings. Read more
Published on September 17, 2005 by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

John E. Stith has published eight science-fiction novels with Ace Books and Tor Books. Some of his novels have been selections of the Science Fiction Book Club. He has won multiple awards, and was a Nebula Award finalist for REDSHIFT RENDEZVOUS. His work has also been translated in numerous countries and has been on multiple Amazon bestseller lists. Stith rhymes with Smith.

Connect with John on Facebook, Goodreads, and LibraryThing.

Some resources of potential interest to readers:

Stith's site is

Look for Naught for Hire, an upcoming webisode series starring Ben Browder as a private detective in a comic near future filled with AI-based appliances that exhibit a range of human-like personality disorders. Look for the original story from ANALOG, included in ALL FOR NAUGHT.

Naught for Hire: Lying clients, criminal minds, deranged appliances -- Who you gonna trust?

The Naught for Hire site is

A Naught for Hire fan community is

John E. Stith has a Facebook page, and there is a Naught for Hire Facebook page.

Also look for MANHATTAN TRANSFER. Aliens kidnap Manhattan. Read all about it.

REDSHIFT RENDEZVOUS is hard SF set in a hyperspace environment where the speed of light is 10 meters per second. Flick a light switch and see the room slowly fill with light. Run, and you can create a sonic boom. Against this background is a starship hijacking where one man stands in their way.

The video page includes part of the the public domain program Science Fiction--Science Fact: SF2 that aired on PBS. All six parts are available on YouTube.

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