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Showing 1-10 of 73 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 106 reviews
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 May 3, 2017
Midworld is a really awesome place. If you can imagine Dune, but as a jungle. But WHAT a jungle. Almost a mile tall and covering the entire planet. And living there is ROUGH. Like, imagine all the adaptations to kill and survive in Earth jungles, and multiple it by a thousand.

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.
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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 March 11, 2017
You can easily tell this is the book that inspired Avatar along with Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom and Amtor series according to James Cameron (Cameron cited Burroughs as the inspiration for the film). A good book, beautiful descriptions, complex story line and plot.
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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 17, 2013
I absolutely loved this book and am going to search out more by Alan Dean Foster in this series. Reading the book, there were many elements that reminded me strongly of the film Avatar. The book was written in the 70s, I believe, so there's no doubt about which came first. And also, I think, little doubt among the sci-fi community that it was an influence.

The world that ADF has built is beautiful, fascinating and deadly. I'm looking forward to exploring more of it.
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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 August 6, 2017
Love Alan Dean Foster's work. Enjoy every word and can't recommend highly enough.
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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 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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