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on June 15, 2007
No one describes a creature like Alan Dean Foster! Hands down, the very best. His silverslith sent shivers down my arms. I've read it many times, and I even use it to teach my students how to write a descriptive paragraph. His mind knows no bounds when inventing animals, plants, and humans. Probably my favorite fantasy book of all times (though Mid-Flinx) comes in a close second.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 19, 2012
Long before the concept of world building gained currency among science fiction fans, Alan Dean Foster built one of the most imaginative worlds in the genre. Midworld takes place on an unnamed planet covered with dense vegetation, rising from the surface (Lower Hell) to the sky (Upper Hell) in seven layers. Although it is filled with predatory plants and animals, humans -- the descendants of a crashed spacecraft -- have carved out a niche in the middle levels. They have adapted to the world to such an extent that they seem to communicate in an almost worshipful way with the trees and vegetation that make their survival possible. They "emfol" with plant life, an empathic form of communication that assures the plant's willingness to be used for their purposes. A science station, illegally established on the world by a corporate entity, is unaware of the world's human population until a skimmer flown by two scientists is swatted from the air by a flying nightmare. The scientists -- Logan and Cohoma -- are saved by Born, who eventually leads them on a dangerous journey back to their station. When Born learns what the science station is doing, conflict ensues.

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.
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on March 1, 2015
I have been a fan of ADF for many decades. His writing style, level of detail and scientific foundation provides for exceptional story and character development and vivid imagery. That being said, the ending of this book was a bit rushed...especially given the extensive character development...thus my 4 rating. Still a good read however and extremely creative and visionary on adaptive evolution and alternative plant-based biomes.
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on December 26, 2012
I've waited a long time to write this. I can count on one hand the number of books I've read more than once. Midworld has the distinction of being the only book I've read four times in my life: once as a child, again as a teenager, then a college freshman, and finally again in mid-life. Each time I discover something new, something I missed.

The world is wonderfully portrayed, a character unto itself populated with creatures and plants of wild imagination. The journey of the heroes transects it both horizontally and (uniquely) vertically. On my latest read through I find the station administrator Hansen wonderfully detailed. His weariness at having to keep the station running, dealing with natives, equipment shortages and impatient, expectant bosses off-world is depicted beautifully through action and dialog.

I do hope it never finds a film adaptation - that would ruin it for me. Instead it deserves to live on in print as a wonderful tale of the inter-dependency between man, animal, plant and planet. When I found this kindle edition, I didn't hesitate to purchase, and am now glad I can have this treasure to enjoy for years to come.

Incidentally, I hope the kindle editions of Foster's other earlier works come to light. I particularly enjoyed Star Trek Log Nine (long out of print) and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Midworld.
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on February 20, 2013
I found this to be a very refreshing book and actually a fun read. The characters are developed okay, but the world that is created is amazing. I also loved the language that the author used and found myself using the Kindle dictionary to look up words more than I've ever used on a book before.

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.
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on April 29, 2015
One of my absolute favorite Sci-Fi books. Alan Dean Foster did an awesome job of providing an exciting book that riveted me. Each page was a
new adventure. The surprise ending caused me to immediately re-read the book. I have lost the number of times I have read this book. Without
exception, each read has given me a new insight dwell upon. This book is a treasured possession.
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on November 13, 2012
I have been a sci-fi fan forever. I have read most of the old classics, more than once for many of them. This novel, however, stirs my imagination more than any I ever read! The movie industry missed an real opportunity here! As I read it, it plays out in my mind just like a movie! The setting, the characters, the story...it's just spectacular. I read Midworld in hardback at least 6-8 times and have already read the Kindle version twice since I download it. Sci-fi fans, do yourself a big favor......READ THIS NOVEL!!!!!
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on June 27, 2015
this was one of my favorite book series when I was an early teen. it remains a favorite now that I am an oldddddddd lady. the writing was and is some of the best I have ever read. the characters are in unbelievable environments that ring absolutely true. the most "out there" plot devices are just absolutely real while you are reading. you will see them, hear them, travel along with them where they live their lives. it is not a just this one and no more book, you will want them all. I bought them in paperback then hardcover and now I am buying kindle versions for my grandchildren.
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on March 16, 2016
This is one of my favorite science fiction novels. Alan Dean Foster has a tremendous imagination, and if you like biology and life sciences, you won't be disappointed. Furthermore, all of the plants & animals are believable; Foster went to great trouble to depict the life in such a way that the flora & fauna come to life and keep the reader riveted.
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on January 11, 2010
I have read (and reread) this book for years. Always a favorite. After viewing Avatar I could only wonder if James Cameron had met with Foster. The movie is wayyyyyyyy too similar to this book. Be sure to read this book - it's great adventure!
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