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The Man Who Fell to Earth Paperback – September 28, 1999

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Editorial Reviews


"Beautiful science fiction . . . The story of an extraterrestrial visitor from another planet is designed mainly to say something about life on this one."
--The New York Times

"An utterly realistic novel about an alien human on Earth . . . Realistic enough to become a metaphor for something inside us all, some existential loneliness."

"Those who know The Man Who Fell to Earth only from the film version are missing something. This is one of the finest science fiction novels of its period."
   Author of Full Tide of Night

"Tevis writes . . . with power and poetry and tension."
--The Washington Post Book World

"Terrific . . . The Man Who Fell to Earth can be seen as the story of a very hip, space-age Passion--about a savior who comes to Earth not to save us but his own people, and who is, in effect, crucified dead and buried."

From the Inside Flap

T.J. Newton is an extraterrestrial who goes to Earth on a desperate mission of mercy. But instead of aid, Newton discovers loneliness and despair that ultimately ends in tragedy.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 209 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine / Del Rey; Reprint edition (September 28, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780345431615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345431615
  • ASIN: 0345431618
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By P. Nicholas Keppler on January 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
With the endless barrages of big-budgeted, simple-minded, ray gun-blasting movies and absurdly complex, geek-aimed fantasy trilogies and tetralogies that have ruled the genre during the past decade, it is difficult to believe that science fiction stories were once compelling, introspective works that employed strange and surreal methods to carry great sociopolitical and philosophical weight. The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis, first published in 1963, is a paradigmatic example of that fine, long-gone variety of space age tale. Mr. Tevis' protagonist, a tall, slender, frail humanoid that calls itself "Thomas Jerome Newton," is sent to Earth from Anthea, a planet where the only knowledge of our world is from the television broadcasts that reach it. Between the glossy commercials and the startling news reports, the Antheans see Earth as a green, watery utopia in some ways and a nuclear powder keg in others. After falling from the Kentucky sky in a one-man spacecraft, Newton embarks on a shady and ambiguous mission. The reserved and methodical stranger's true intent is way too surprising and well developed for any measly reviewer to rightfully give it away. Without letting slip too many precious details, I will tell you that the flimsy extraterrestrial discovers the darker aspects of human society, the feelings of futility, the addictions and vices, the ignorance and distrust and other stigmas not shown on TV. From Newton's fragile eyes, Mr. Tevis does nothing less than paint a striking portrait of the frustrations of being an Earthling.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By on April 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have found myself to be something of a fan of speculative fictions. And The man who fell to Earth by Walter Tevis has been, for a long time now, a book that I have grown to appreciate in what it says and how it expresses it, about the human condition through an inhuman perspective. And I happen to own an edition that was published in 1963, so you can imagine my disappointment when I bought a new copy and found the revisions, which were not only unnecessary but also inconsistent. Now, I agree that some "dated" books are in need of revisions, however, when Walter Tevis (may he rest in peace) had revised his book, The man who fell to Earth, he left it lacking in it's original believability by leaving inconsistencies in the dates that the novel takes place within. The novel was always meant to take place ten years or so in the future and I believe that before his death in 1984, Mr. Tevis had intended to possibly revise it yet again but hadn't the chance due to his fatal run in with cancer.
The original novel opened with the Section Icarus Descending 1972, the revised version opens with Icarus Descending 1985. The second section of book is Rumplestiltskin, 1975, in the revised version this is 1988. The final section of the book is Icarus Drowning, 1976, and 1990 in the revised edition novel. Now this might not seem a bother at all really but here's where my qualm lies... The section called Rumplestiltskin begins in autumn of 1988. And in that December (not to spoil the plot) late on Christmas night, Thomas Jerome Newton, the protagonist of the novel confesses to the Chemistry professor, Nathan Bryce that he is in fact an alien visitor from another world. The following morning, Thomas Jerome Newton is taken captive by the American government and held for two months.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
This truly is my favorite book.
If the book were 'The Day the Earth Stood Still', then the movie version would be 'Plan 9 From Outer Space'.
I think most of the reviews of this book have been tainted by impressions left on them by the movie. The movie doesn't follow the plot of the book very closely and leads people to jump to different conclusions.
I disagree with people who state that Thomas Jerome Newton becomes corrupted, leading him to betray his people. It's clear from the start of the book that he's uncomfortable around humans, fearing he may be discovered and his mission compromised; and this fear remains through all the years he spends on Earth. He doesn't become a recluse. He always was from the very moment he arrived. He tries to keep his contact and interaction with humans to a minimum because it's so hard physically rather than mentally- for him to fit in. He probably has this in mind for his people when his plan is to bring them here. He was chosen for the mission because he was the strongest and if the gravity of the Earth affected him this way, it surely would be worse for every one else.
In the end he gives up on his mission because he feels that he has run out of time. He had a window to build a spaceship and send it back to Mars for his people. He missed the window and would have to wait several years for Mars to come close enough to the Earth again. His people have enough resources to live for another 50 years in reasonable comfort on Mars, However on Earth, they would not live so comfortably and he believed that without proper intervention the Earth only had 10 years left before it was destroyed.
The one thing I wish is that they had thought of a contingency plan.
Another good thing about the book is that it is deep. Very well written.
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