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Planetfall by Emma Newman


by Emma Newman

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I found the end quite unsatisfying, but the rest of the book was enjoyable. Suspenseful with a good pace.

Some sci-fi authors spend so much time explaining their world to you in minute detail that the plot suffers, but happily, here you get enough to understand the setting and characters without tedium setting in. Science and tech are clearly part of the characters' world, but the author uses it to her advantage instead of bashing you over the head with it. ( )
  Lindoula | Sep 25, 2017 |
Planetfall, recommended by Mamie and Heather (souloftherose), is enjoyable sci-fi with hidden mysteries that are slowly revealed. Our lead is Renata “Ren” Ghali, who is antisocial but respected in the Earth colony at the base of "God's City". She came to the planet with a group led by Lee Suh-Mi 22 years before, as Suh was convinced they would find God there.

No one lives in God's City, a seemingly organic construct that I imagined as a huge black goop dripped on the mountain, with innards like a body, with large tubes that twist and turn when someone enters, and "valves" that open to permit entrance and then close. Suh-Mi died a mysterious death there, but is said to reappear once a year when the colonists have a special ceremony.

Ren is a key engineer and technician for the colony, programming and printing 3D habitats and other essentials, and repairing what's broken. With the "Ringmaster" Mack, she knows what really happened on their arrival, and why some died.

When Suh-Mi's grandson unexpectedly appears from the wilds one day (it was thought that the other colonists had all died), secrets begin to come to light, including Ren's.

I liked Ren and God's City and the slow reveal of secrets. Emma Newman has created a good one, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel. ( )
  jnwelch | Jul 1, 2017 |
Today is the last for 2016 Hugo Award nominations, and I need to get this review of Emma Newman’s Planetfall out there before the clock strikes midnight. This novel is particularly noteworthy in light of the troubled history of the Hugos over the last few years. I’ve watched this ongoing saga unfold with distress, while doing my best to stay out of the fray. At the risk of oversimplifying and misrepresenting both sides, my own take is that this is a battle between science fiction with an old fashioned “sense of wonder,” and “character driven” science fiction. I know that neither side characterizes the other so generously, but this is my own personal distillation of what is really going on in this dispute.

For my money, the very best science fiction has both a sense of wonder and first rate characterization. Very few novels actually fall into such a rare category. I believe Planetfall is one of them. Any reader who approaches this novel with an unbiased mind, and sticks with it all the way to the end, will most certainly find this to be true.

If there is anything one might criticize about this story, I can see many being annoyed by how long Newman takes to flesh out her POV character Ren and weave her into the larger story. I actually enjoyed that Newman did this and found myself rewarded later as this groundwork paid off in a character symbiotically linked to the story events. Ren wouldn’t be Ren without the story events, and the story could not unfold as it did without Ren. And Ren is a hot mess! Her problems are actually off-putting at times, and yet they draw you tighter into Ren.

Ren is such a well developed character that I found myself lulled into thinking that such strong characterization might mean a less than developed plot. Wrong! Every time I figured I had a handle on where things were going, Newman surprised me. And every surprise had an integral, organic feel that left me slapping my forehead for not anticipating it. As for “sense of wonder,” the last few pages left me tingling with the same type of awe I felt as a kid first discovering the genre.

This novel will definitely find itself as one of the “best novel” choices on my Hugo ballet. If, like me, you are torn and saddened by what has gone on with the Hugo’s, then give this novel a try. I believe it has everything anyone could want in a science fiction novel. ( )
2 vote AugustvonOrth | Apr 20, 2017 |
Great sci-fi book with very interesting story line.
Yuck read with enough to keep you not wanting to put it down. ( )
  KarenHerndon | Mar 12, 2017 |
This was quite an interesting book! First, the protagonist is a colored woman. She is competent. Before long, it becomes clear that she is lesbian, and then, it turns out she has a mental disorder. Any one of those things would have made for an unusual protagonist, let alone all of them!
The story is interesting as well. A colony of people living on a strange planet at the foot of what they call God's city. What has happened at the first planetfall? What is that city about?
There are answers of a sort at the end, even though part of the end is open as well. As the answers I got were to the questions that mattered to me, that was fine. I did feel that the twists to the story at the end were a bit disjointed. All of a sudden, the whole story veered in another direction. I felt like the whole story was a setup to get to the ending, but that took too long at the beginning, and then sped up too fast at the end,with an unexpected change of direction, and all of a sudden you're there, and you don't know what just happened to you. ( )
1 vote zjakkelien | Jan 2, 2017 |
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For Kate, and everyone who loved her
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Every time I come down here I think about my mother.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425282392, Paperback)

From Emma Newman, the award-nominated author of Between Two Thorns, comes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity’s future might be its undoing…

Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi’s vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.

More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony's 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.

Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi.

The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart…

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 07 Sep 2015 00:25:37 -0400)

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