HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Loading...

The sparrow (original 1996; edition 2004)

by Mary Doria Russell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,309297829 (4.2)1 / 755
Member:bell7
Title:The sparrow
Authors:Mary Doria Russell
Info:New York : Ballantine Books, 2004.
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:adult, science fiction

Work details

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (1996)

  1. 130
    Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (mrstreme)
  2. 112
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (prezzey)
    prezzey: Both are good solid science fiction novels featuring Roman Catholic monks.
  3. 61
    Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card (sturlington)
    sturlington: Also about first contact with an alien civilization that humans cannot understand.
  4. 62
    A Case of Conscience by James Blish (kevinashley)
    kevinashley: Both of these books deal with the combined issues of first contact with aliens and religion, through the involvement of priests. Both leave open questions, and both are well-written.
  5. 30
    The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (GCPLreader)
  6. 20
    Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Another Catholic priest deals with aliens
  7. 31
    The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss (Rivercrest)
    Rivercrest: Dazzle of Day explores the trials of community living and community choices in the same context as Sparrow; space flight, alien landscapes and religous exploration. It also has the same deft use of language, visual descriptions and charecter development. And though I love Sparrow and go back to it time and again, I like how the author ends Dazzle of Day better. Enjoy.… (more)
  8. 10
    Eden by Stanisław Lem (pitjrw)
    pitjrw: A much better book on the uncertainties, misapprehensions, and danger of first contact.
  9. 10
    Anathem by Neal Stephenson (quartzite)
    quartzite: Both books deal with key groups of people preparing to meet alien cultures with a bit of theology and philosophy thrown in.
  10. 00
    The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Missionary priests deal with abuse, spiritual questioning and alien cultures
  11. 00
    Daniel Stein, interpreter: a novel in documents by Ljudmila Ulitskaya (spiphany)
    spiphany: A central theme of both books is the examination of faith, both within and outside of organized religion
  12. 11
    The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (Tanya-dogearedcopy)
    Tanya-dogearedcopy: First Contact sections of both novels are remarkably similar
  13. 00
    Wulfsyarn by Phillip Mann (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both feature an unusual mix of alien contact and religion
  14. 00
    Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon (Anonymous user)
  15. 11
    Archangel by Sharon Shinn (espertus)
  16. 11
    Under the Skin by Michel Faber (Anonymous user)
  17. 12
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (tetrachromat)
    tetrachromat: Both juxtapose religion and science fiction. Hyperion is also [IMHO] a significantly better book.
  18. 01
    Dark Eden by Chris Beckett (JGoto)
    JGoto: Not quite as good, but some similar themes and an interesting read.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (293)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (297)
Showing 1-5 of 293 (next | show all)
This book takes on spiritual and religious issues in a direct yet sophisticated way that I haven't seen done to this extent before. It's a pretty heavy book, but also with elements of adventure and romance. I never totally lost myself in the story, though, possibly because of the two overlapping story arcs (one going slowly but steadily up, the other a rocky road down). Anyway, would definitely recommend it. ( )
1 vote Amelia_Smith | Aug 28, 2016 |
This book is awesome. It forces the reader to confront big questions about life and religion. Many of the characters are lovable (or hatable) and the story is heartbreaking. Russell does a good job of making you feel invested in the story. I recommend it to everyone! ( )
  ladonna37 | Jun 28, 2016 |
What a truly amazing, incredible book that I stumbled upon from my book group. It blends science with the SETI program with faith called upon at the darkest moments with judgment by others who are the court of public opinion. The language is that of few words until a need for descriptions, allowing the reader's mind to begin to create the space between words. While some said it took a while for the plot to get going, I felt that it was almost like sipping a deep, full wine in the moments before the savory main course is served. It allows you to pause between sips and think about what you've just read and how it relates back to the whole story.

The author's understanding way back in 1996 to refer to the "net" and discuss the importance of electronic communication between people is very insightful, and the extrapolating of using brilliant people in an indentured servant capacity to explore how the human mind works in order to give those jobs to AI robots is almost timely. Her knowledge of how human history changes and yet human nature does not is also quite well thought out.

Since the novel opens with the return of Emilio Sandoz to the condemnation of the court of public opinion, much of the structure of the book creates good, deep characters who then come together to be part of the tragedy of the novel. And you're not sure how the tragedy will unfold, but once the decision is made to send a hollowed-out asteroid to the planet, I was so very, very sad about the inevitability of the outcome.

The Jesuits are portrayed as smart people with human flaws (one has no sense of direction, another cannot look at Fr. Sandoz with anything but contempt) who still manage to pull off the explanation of the events on the planet with deep thoughtfulness and toughness when it is called for. Definitely one I will buy for my own shelves. I'm so glad I read this - it changed my life.

Ed. from recent re-read: I picked up details this second time through, such as a deeper understanding of the interactions between the characters. But once again, the sipping through of the language was divine and I can't wait to discuss it with the newest members of this book group. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
One of my favorite books ever. ( )
  euroclewis | Jun 8, 2016 |
When reading this book, one must put aside the science of physics and accept the story for the parable that it is. The Sparrow is a study in anthropology and theology, and is an examination of how simple misunderstandings can lead to tragedy and ultimate loss when alien cultures meet for the first time. This is something we have learned from our own history here on Earth. Russell takes that concept to the stars in a first-contact story that ranks up there with the very best of them. ( )
  ScoLgo | Jun 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 293 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Doria Russellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
diBondone,GiottoCover artsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Maura E. Kirby
and
Mary L. Dewing

quarum sine auspicio hic
liber in lucem non esset
editas
First words
On December 7, 2059, Emilio Sandoz was released from the isolation ward of Salvator Mundi Hospital in the middle of the night and transported in a bread van to the Jesuit Residence at Number 5 Borgo Santo Spirito, a few minutes' walk across St. Peter's Square from the Vatican.
Quotations
I don't understand, but I can learn if you will teach me.
"There are no beggars on Rakhat. There is no unemployment. There is no overcrowding. No starvation. No environmental degradation. There is no genetic disease. The elderly do not suffer decline. Those with terminal illness do not linger. They pay a terrible price for this system, but we too pay, Felipe, and the coin we use is the suffering of children. How many kids starved to death this afternoon, while we sat here? Just because their corpses aren't eaten doesn't make our species any more moral!"
"...Because if I was led by God to love God, step by step, as it seemed, if I accept that the beauty and the rapture were real and true, then the rest of it was God's will too, and that, gentlemen, is cause for bitterness. But if I am simply a deluded ape who took a lot of old folktales far too seriously, then I brought all this on myself and my companions and the whole business becomes farcical, doesn't it. The problem with atheism, I find, under these circumstances," he continued with academic exactitude, each word etched on the air with acid, "is that I have no one to despise but myself. If however, I choose to believe that God is vicious, then at least I have the solace of hating God."
"'Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.'" "But the sparrow still falls," Felipe said.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
A novel about a remarkable man, a living saint, a life-long celibate and Jesuit priest, who undergoes an experience so harrowing and profound that it makes him question the existence of God. This experience--the first contact between human beings and intelligent extraterrestrial life--begins with a small mistake and ends in a horrible catastrophe.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0449912558, Paperback)

In 2019, humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exquisite singing from a planet which will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission, the Society of Jesus quietly organizes an eight-person scientific expedition of its own. What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to question the meaning of being "human." When the lone survivor of the expedition, Emilio Sandoz, returns to Earth in 2059, he will try to explain what went wrong... Words like "provocative" and "compelling" will come to mind as you read this shocking novel about first contact with a race that creates music akin to both poetry and prayer.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:46 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Combining elements of science fiction and spiritual philosophy, this novel is a tale of the devastating consequences of a scientific mission to make contact with an extraterrestrial culture.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
6 avail.
260 wanted
4 pay6 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.2)
0.5 5
1 26
1.5 8
2 58
2.5 20
3 185
3.5 83
4 549
4.5 129
5 798

Audible.com

2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 108,493,307 books! | Top bar: Always visible