- Mass Market Paperback
- Publisher: Del Rey (June 12, 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345350111
- ISBN-13: 978-0345350114
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 106 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,024,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Midworld Mass Market Paperback – June 12, 1987
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From the Inside Flap
Born was a child of the rain forest that covered Midworld, part of the primitive society that the peaceful jungle planet had sustained for hundreds of years. He was wise in the ways of his world, and he knew well the precarious natural balance that governed all things.
Then one day the aliens came. Giants. They knew nothing of the Upper or Lower Hell -- and they cared less. Born had risked his life to save them, to guide them through the myriad tangled boughs, past unseen, unsuspected dangers lurking in the underbrush. But worse than their ignorance of how to survive, the aliens had plans for Midworld, plans that could utterly destroy the globe-spanning forest that his people called home.
As the days passed, Born realized his mistake. And as he had once hunted only to live, he knew now that he would be forced to live only to kill...
Top customer reviews
Midworld combines a nifty story of corporate greed with a lost world adventure. Most of the novel -- the best part of the novel -- pits humans against the many dangers that Foster imagines on a world that is both treacherous and (for those who understand it) welcoming. In the final quarter of the novel, the humans who have adapted to the world and the newcomers who want to exploit it are not playing well together. In that regard, Midworld develops a less-than-subtle pro-environmentalist message, one that cleverly transplants the Gaia theory to an alien world. The human inhabitants of the world take only what they need, and only after they emfol with the plant life to determine whether the plant is ready to be taken. The corporate outsiders are, of course, taking whatever they want, without regard to the world's needs, and are thus (at least in Born's opinion) set on a path that will lead to the world's destruction. The heavy-handedness of the "good versus evil" storyline is offset in the final pages, which challenge the reader to reconsider the nature of good and evil in the circumstances that Foster imagines.
Foster's writing style is lively; it occasionally has a literary feel that is uncommon in genre fiction. For that reason, and for the brilliantly conceived world that Foster envisions, this largely forgotten novel comes close to meriting the status of a science fiction classic. I would give Midworld 4 1/2 stars if that option were available.
The protagonist tribe of humans, a lost colony, live in the middle of the 7 levels. The top and bottom two are considered "hells," because the creatures are even more appalling monstrous than the ones they deal with on a daily basis. This means that they pretty much never see the sun or sky, unless something is pretending to be the sky with camouflage so it can sink down and digest you.
Midworld is a hardcore place, and produces some hardcore dudes. Our protagonist Born is a daredevil, smart and tough but takes too many risks by far. That's what makes him fun. Will he have to delve to the 7th level of hell to survive? Will he see the sky? You'll have to read to find out.
As a downside, the people from space who come to exploit Midworld and find the colonists (who are meant for us to see through their eyes, an excuse for born to explain things) are written too stupidly to be believed. The sort of simple minded characterization that was pretty common in this time period for sci-fi. The kind of heavy handed "noble savage, stupid civilized people," that you see in Tarzan. It takes away from the book, but ultimately the book is good enough to still warrant five stars.
A sci-fi classic must read.
At first, I was a bit surprised by the abrupt ending and some of the motivations and decisions made by the main characters, but after taking some time to reflect on it, there was foreshadowing well in advance and it does all make sense.
This book really made me think about our world and how we live in it. It's kind of eye opening in a way.
The one negative I have is for the Kindle edition for this book. I'm assuming that the mistakes were made in the translation to the ebook and are not in the original novel. Many times, one of the main character's name is misspelled (Bora instead of Born). There are also some strange characters thrown about and sometimes (admittedly, rarely) where it seemed like there were even words missing from sentences. I hope these mistakes get cleaned up in future editions of the Kindle version. This probably won't bother other people as much as it bothered me though, and even with these annoyances, I'm very glad I read the book.