- Hardcover: 280 pages
- Publisher: Yucca Publishing; First Edition first Printing edition (January 12, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 163158068X
- ISBN-13: 978-1631580680
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 49 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,003,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Knocking on Heaven's Door: A Novel Hardcover – January 12, 2016
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In her latest sci-fi novel, Russell leaps forward into the 23rd century and thrusts her reader immediately into a highly evocative and imaginative new world. Her world-building skill is honed and seamless; from the first sentence in the first paragraph, you are there. Described by some readers as a “dystopian” futuristic world, it appears no more dystopian (to me at least) than year 2016 in which we experience over-population, world hunger, homelessness, pollution of our air and seas, wars, disease, and atrocities committed in the name of religion. And that’s Russell’s point. Her concerns for our planet, for our well being as a human race and our need for life balance with nature, radiate through carefully crafted words, characters, and plot. However, her futuristic characters face the same moral and ethical issues humans wrestle with today, albeit at a more complex and wildly creative level.
I enjoyed being placed into a world where plants, animals and humans were telepathic, where humans could change from human to animal, where humans struggled with the rightness or wrongness of cloning, and more, resurrecting the dead, a world where humans were forced to redefine what it means to be human. I enjoyed the world--and the clever incongruity—of laptop-carrying hunter gathers. I enjoyed having to look up a few words and actually learning something. Russell succeeds in both educating and entertaining the reader.
I was hooked from the first sentence in the first paragraph, and I believe you will be, too, but beware: There is no catch-and-release policy here. You’ll find your mind returning again and again to the questions raised in this highly intelligent and well-crafted story.
I see Sharman Russell’s writing as a body of work, so I enjoyed the fact that this sci-fi novel draws on her entire lifelong path of inquiry, including archaeology, anthropology, pantheism, animism, citizen science, social justice, and issues of food, nature, mothering, teaching, and our spiritual lives. I chose this book for my book club to read, and although several of the people in the group found it hard going – sci-fi not being their style – our thoughtful discussion of the book was animated and broad ranging. One person wrote to me afterwards “that sometimes a book is more than a book.” I find that the threads of Knocking on Heaven’s Door continue to surface and inform what I have been reading since then – a lasting sign of the power of a book that I look for!
Russell reimagines a lively, post-apocalyptic world that is in many ways better than the old one. Humanity has been chastened. The rash, wasteful, warlike tendencies of yore, are gone, near extinction being a tremendous boon to learning new ways. The earth is busy restoring herself and although only three communities of humans have survived, they are focused on preserving the earth, communicating and learning.
Russell takes on all the big stuff -- science soft and hard, ethics, religion, philosophy, the family unit, technology, and Einstein’s physics, as well as the matter of life itself –who has the right to take it or make it.
Many lessons here for all of us, but Russell is never didactic. Descriptions are vivid and animals do much of the talking. Humor resides in the nooks and crannies of even the hardest places. I feel a twinkle in the writer’s eye, and a challenge. Knocking on Heaven’s Door is a consciousness expander, a dreamer’s lesson plan, and a really, really fun book to read!
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Done with intent, the story is about science and nature and the compromises...Read more