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Eifelheim by Michael Flynn
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Eifelheim (edition 2009)

by Michael Flynn

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7464912,468 (3.71)85
Member:revslick
Title:Eifelheim
Authors:Michael Flynn
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2009), Edition: First Edition, Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:2012 read

Work details

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn

  1. 130
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Ape)
    Ape: Far from identical stories, but both are sci-fi takes on the black death (Eifelheim: Aliens, Doomsday Book: Time Travel.) There are numerous similarities, and I think if you like one the other might be worth looking into.
  2. 10
    Blindsight by Peter Watts (Waldheri)
    Waldheri: Similar because it also is full of philosophical and scientific concepts, and also has a first-contact theme.
  3. 00
    The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (sturlington)
    sturlington: Religion and aliens.
  4. 00
    The Plot to Save Socrates by Paul Levinson (FFortuna)
  5. 00
    God's Fire by Patricia Anthony (whiten06)
    whiten06: First contact, religious themes, and medieval backdrops.
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» See also 85 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Eifelheim tells the unique story of a group of space aliens who crash-land and are marooned in 14th-century Germany, around the time of the black plague. The real joy of this book comes of watching their interactions with the locals, especially Father Dietrich, who as the local priest is really the only educated person around. After convincing the townsfolk (with varying success) that the aliens aren't demons, we read about a number of episodes in which the humans try to aid the aliens in surviving and repairing their ship, and the aliens help the humans with local politics and, later, the plague. It gets really fun when both sides try to reconcile the 21st-century science of the aliens with the humans' medieval religious views--at one point the aliens are really disappointed that won't really get to meet the humans' "lord-from-above" on Easter, as his knowledge of converting matter to energy would definitely be able to help them out. This book is really more about the moments than the ongoing plot, and I found many of those moments to be really enjoyable. ( )
  Phrim | Jan 15, 2015 |
Is this a fantasy? Sci-fi? Not sure. I really really tried to finish it, but got bogged down in the length, complexity, did I say length? Tried audio and print. Ah well, there are so many more books out there.
  2wonderY | Sep 16, 2014 |
This book bubbled up on some searches for something new to read. The premise sounded wonderful: aliens come to Earth in the mid-14th century and are stranded. For some reason, the book never lived up to the promise of that premise. I found the description of life in the Black Forest boring, the conflict between the aliens and the locals predictable and any comic relief based on the two cultures too far between to keep me interested. I was interested in the pseudoscience postulated in the “now” sequences of the book, but that was too sparse. The ending was like a scene borrowed from Chariots of the Gods. Mediocre at best: three stars. ( )
  PghDragonMan | Mar 2, 2014 |
I was intrigued at the idea of "first contact" in medieval times, just now realized. This could have been a better novel than it was. Lots of it was great fun. But the author ruined the story by inserting pages of discussion about every theological, scientific and philosophical question of the fourteenth century. It got in the way of the movement of the story. But he redeemed himself at the end - I thoroughly enjoyed how he wrapped it all up. I wish that maybe a bit more work and editing had gone into this novel; it's on the verge of doing something really fascinating. ( )
1 vote TerriBooks | Mar 1, 2014 |
High-level philosophy going on here, but interesting. Not a page-turner by any means. ( )
  MorganGMac | Feb 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
"Flynn credibly maintains the voice of a man whose worldview is based on concepts almost entirely foreign to the modern mind, and he makes a tense and thrilling story of historical research out of the contemporary portions of the tale."
added by sturlington | editBooklist, 103 (2): 33, Regina Schroder (Sep 15, 2006)
 
"Another meticulously researched, intense, mesmerizing novel (based in some part on a 1986 short story) for readers seeking thoughtful science fiction of the highest order."
added by sturlington | editKirkus Reviews 74 (16): 815., Kirkus Reviews (Aug 15, 2006)
 
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Epigraph
For God is dead nowadays and will not hear us,

And for our guilt he grinds good men to dust.

      -- William Langland, Piers Ploughman
C'est le chemin qu'on appelle le Val d'Enfer. Que votre Altesse me pardonne l'expression; je ne suis pas diable pour y passer.

      -- Marshal Villars, regarding the Höllenthal, 1702
Oh happy posterity who will not experience such abysmal woe and will look upon our testimony as a fable.

      -- Petrarch
Dedication
First words
I know where the path to the stars lies.
Quotations
Somewhere, he thought, there are creatures like these.
Stirred, a heart could be a terrible thing.
It's all that reading that does it, Dietrich. It takes a man out of the world and pushes him inside his own head, and there is nothing there but spooks.
Dietrich, watching the young couple depart, hoped the union would prove as loving for the couple as it promised to be advantageous for their kin.
Paul wrote to remind everyone that outward signs no longer mattered.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is a novel. Do not combine it with the 1986 novella of the same name.
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Over the centuries, one small town in Germany has disappeared and never been resettled. Tom, a contemporary historian, and his theoretical physicist girlfriend, Sharon, become interested. Tom indeed becomes obsessed. By all logic, the town should have survived. What's so special about Eifelheim?

In the year 1348, Father Dietrich is the village priest of Oberhochwald, later known as Eifelheim, when the Black Death is gathering strength but is still not nearby. Dietrich is an educated man, knows science and philosophy, and — to his astonishment — becomes the first contact person between humanity and an alien race from a distant star when their interstellar ship crashes in the nearby forest.

It is a time of wonders in the shadow of the plague. Flynn gives us the full richness and strangeness of medieval life, as well as some terrific aliens.

Tom and Sharon and Father Dietrich have a strange destiny of tragedy and triumph in this brilliant SF novel by the winner of the Robert A. Heinlein award.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765340356, Mass Market Paperback)

Centuries ago, one small town in Germany disappeared and was never resettled. Tom, a historian, and his theoretical physicist girlfriend Sharon, become interested. By all logic, the town should have survived. What's so special about Eifelheim?

Father Dietrich is the village priest of Eifelheim, in the year 1348, when the Black Death is gathering strength. To his astonishment, Dietrich makes first contact between humanity and an alien race from a distant star, when their ship crashes in the nearby forest. Flynn gives us the full richness and strangeness of medieval life, as well as some terrific aliens.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:28 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In 1349, one small town in Germany disappeared and has never been resettled. Tom, a contemporary historian, and his theoretical physicist girlfriend Sharon, become interested. Tom indeed becomes obsessed. By all logic, the town should have survived, but it didn't and that violates everything Tom knows about history. What's was special about Eifelheim that it utterly disappeared more than 600 years ago? Father Deitrich is the village priest of Oberhochwald, the village that will soon gain the name of Teufelheim, in later years corrupted to Eifelheim, in the year 1348, when the Black Death is gathering strength across Europe but is still not nearby. Deitrich is an educated man, knows science and philosophy, and to his astonishment becomes the first contact between humanity and an alien race from a distant star when their interstellar ship crashes in the nearby forest. It is a time of wonders, in the shadow of the plague. Tom and Sharon, and Father Deitrich, have a strange and intertwined destiny of tragedy and triumph in this brilliant SF novel by the winner of the Robert A. Heinlein Award.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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