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Seeds of Earth (Humanity's Fire) Kindle Edition

3.2 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Length: 630 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


Praise for the Humanity's Fire trilogy:

"Proper galaxy-spanning Space Opera ... a worthy addition to the genre"―Iain M. Banks

"A complex, finely detailed thriller-cum-space opera"

About the Author

Michael Cobley was born in Leicester, England and has lived in Glasgow, Scotland for most of his life. He has studied engineering, been a DJ and has an abiding interest in democratic politics.

His previous books include the Shadowkings dark fantasy trilogy and Iron Mosaic, a short story collection. Seeds of Earth, The Orphaned Worlds, and The Ascendant Stars, books one, two and three of the Humanity's Fire sequence, were his first full-length forays into space opera.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1453 KB
  • Print Length: 630 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (September 25, 2012)
  • Publication Date: September 25, 2012
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0076DCR32
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,320 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The UK reviews on this book are mixed. I admit, this book is not perfect and the story - not original. However, if you like Greg Bear, Larry Niven and Orson Scott Card, you should like this book. Those influences are omnipresent in this vast story. Darien will remind readers of Lamarckia from Bear's novel Legacy, a sequel to EON. Some the mechanicals and aliens could have been lifted right from Niven's Ringworld (one in particular reminds me of the puppeteer). The politics are oh so Ender in Exile and beyond from Card. Some people find their novel and reread it over and over. If that's you, stick with Bear, Niven and Card. I wouldn't recommend this one over any of the aforementioned. But, I do recommend this one, nevertheless.

I for one don't mind old themes, characters, and plots presented in a different manner. Cobley tells a great story that is immense in scope. He has this unique ability to introduce a tidbit of back story (the such and such war or the XYZ race) without wasting pages upon pages of filler when all that is needed is the reference to give the reader the ability to fill more with imagination. For the most part, the characters are rich and interesting and the prose is well paced. If you are looking for a familiar friend in the world of Space epics (i don't like the reference to Space Opera because everyone has a different definition of what that is), try this out.
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Format: Paperback
Call me churlish, but when a book has a quote from Iain M. Banks on the cover declaring "Proper galaxy-spanning Space Opera" then I'm going to expect something along the lines of a Banks novel.

But unfortunately, "Seeds of Earth" aint that.

Sure it's a weighty novel, chock full of characters - both alien and human - and a series of set piece chapters...but it is missing the subtle emotional threads that tie the mosaic together, and more importantly for me, it is missing the depth of vision that makes for outstanding science fiction.

Cobley populates the galaxy in what seems to be a near future timeline with dozens of alien species (one of which aggressively attacks Earth in the 'first contact' scenario that opens the book) that have come and gone with numerous wars over millenia. Given the energies involved in these wars, I had a continual niggle that surely, with all the telescopes trained on the skys, some boffin somewhere would have noticed said aliens. As I said, a niggle, but one of many that piled up as I waded my way through the book.

A more serious niggle was that each of the aliens we meet have essentially human motivations. It may be true that petty politics is indeed "galaxy spanning", but it ensures the plot stays ordinary. Basically, Cobley gives us good aliens and bad aliens (and indeed, good Human's and bad Human's). I prefer shades of gray with all the underlying uncertainty and corresponding tension it provides and was disapppinted that over 600-odd pages it was white hat and black hat and nothing in between.

And then there is the technology....or lack of it This is where Cobley seriously lets the side down. This is a future devoid of any serious consideration for impact and consequence.
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Format: Paperback
This is my first Michael Cobley novel as I'm sure it's the first of many who choose to begin this trilogy of Humanity's Fire. Like other trilogies (Cosmonaut Keep (The Engines of Light, Book 1) to name one) or quadrilogies (Lords of the Middle Dark (Rings of the Master, Book 1) to name another) I've completed, Seeds of Earth has the same problem of getting the plot off the launchpad when weighed down with a load of new characters, a shipment of proper nouns and crates full of exotic aliens, planets, flora, fauna, honorific titles... I could go on. It's one of those books which is difficult to find a toehold. It's also one of those books which lends itself to be read in one week in order for the reader to fully understand the setting Cobley has just placed.

The 9-page prologue of Seeds of Earth takes place on Mars when the Solar System is under attack by the Achorga Swarm. Plans have been made to launch fifteen arks to save humanity in case the Swarm prevails. The Swarm has been virulently persistent to only allow humanity to construct and launch three arks. Chapter One opens 150-years after the ark Hyperion has made landfall on the planet Darien. The mix of Scots, Scandinavians and Russians settle the hospitable planet and befriend a race of intelligent bipeds who inhabit the breathable atmosphere of moon.

Living in ignorance about the fate of the earth and the two other arks, the tiny outpost somewhat flourishes. Politics plays a big role in Book One, but not to the extent of what MacLeod includes in his novels (but you can bet they both emphasis the Scottish accent!).
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Comment 8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
By the numbers space opera. The type of story where everything is driven by political intrigue and the level of politics show themselves to be pretty rigidly defined in the end. There's some ambivalence among squabbling but well-intentioned factions in the 'good polity', but the evil polities lack any such nuance and it becomes distressingly clear which argument is serving the greater good far too early and forcefully.

Beyond that we have the list of modern space opera points to checklist off in a matter similar to Wheel of Time running through a checklist on post-Tolkien fantasy---gesture at huge scales involved in interstellar war, make a small group of heroes feature decisively in this conflict, have those characters have pencil-thin personalities, make the first book of the trilogy push through big revelations for a sequel hook, show advanced tech for weapons but have little substantive change in daily human life.

It's been done a lot before and it's been done better, and there seems little point to even work up much disappointment over it. To be fair, the ultimate plot did turn out to better I was expecting from the initial setup and on a page by page level it's quite readable. Still, it's not great or even good fiction and it provides compelling demonstration that science fiction can be just as stale, unambitious and over-familiar as fantasy can.

Better than: Titan by Stephen Baxter

Worse than: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
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