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The Visitor by Sheri S. Tepper

The Visitor (2002)

by Sheri S. Tepper

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Tepper really is a wonderful writer - her books are intelligent, inventive, superbly plotted and littered with prose that leaves te reader breathless.Her major strain of work is science fiction with the technology in the background and an emphasis on social and personal relationships, a deep concern for people combined with a sharply satirical social analysis. The Visitor begins seeming to be borderline fantasy/sci-fi, but then combines a storyline of apocalyptic fiction - the primary setting is the human civilisation that has survived the impact of an asteroid. The backbone idea is Clarke's Law that "any sufficiently advanced technology will appear to be magic", with the superstitious survivors managing to venerate and fear pre-apocalypse technology, and those who do understand that it is technology faced with a superior, possibly alien, force. Tepper doesn't leave it there; she takes a direction you will never predict. Read it. ( )
  Pezski | Jun 8, 2017 |
Throughout most of this book, I thought it was great.
The milieu is an innovative and effective blend of post-apocalypse, straight-out horror, and science fiction. It's a complicated world, and Tepper does an amazing job of showing-not-telling, revealing elements of the situation she's created gradually...
The protagonist, Disme, is shown to progress from her repressed situation where she is terrorized by her stepmother and her even-worse stepsister, gradually finding the ability to express her identity and to seek out the truth about her society...
And her current society (strongly influenced by religious fanatics after a disastrous asteroid collision with Earth) is very effectively realized, in a way that reflects upon our world today...
However, as the book progresses, the supernatural elements become more pronounced, in a way that, for me, compromised the internal believability of the story...
And then, at the very end, AAGH! What happened? It was like Tepper suddenly doubted herself, and said, "Wait! I bet my readers won't GET what I've been writing about for the last 400 pages! I'd better spell it all out!" And suddenly we get a long, boring dialogue with god. Yikes. It's an ending that's both pedantic and absurd. Very disappointing - because the first part of the book really is excellent (and disturbing!). ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
In general, I love Sheri S. Tepper's work. Her voice speaks right to me, and the settings and characters she writes of always inspire me.

Visitor started out with the promise of another Tepper book I'd like. And it held that promise up until the very end, where it puttered out with one of the lamest endings I've ever read - very close to a 'Deus ex Machina' type cop-out.

I highly recommend Ms. Tepper. Just not this one. ( )
  Xandylion | Jan 19, 2015 |
I did like this book. I found myself reading it while stirring a pot on the stove, and "rescheduling" a trip to town so that I could stay at home with the book.

The "bad guys" were really icky. The author was a little preachy toward the end (though I've read other reviews that indicate this is normal for her).

There was a lot of build up, the book was engrossing, but it seemed like the good vs. evil battle was tied up a little too easily and neatly; the bad guys, for all their horrific actions throughout the book, seemed to go down fairly easily when the good guys rode into town. The whole denouement didn't take nearly as many pages as I would have expected (refer back to part about the bad guys being vanquished fairly easily). ( )
  FiberBabble | Mar 30, 2013 |
A friend was nice enough to send a copy of Sheri S. Tepper's The Visitor my way recently. I finished it on the train this weekend. It smacks of Deus Ex Machina, quite literally (get it? heh...), which usually is quite a turn-off for me. However, The Visitor built up to it. I was expecting the hands of deities by the time they arrived in the story. The plot was quite twisted in very concise ways, which I liked.

An author's style is what usually grabs me, though, and Ms. Tepper has it to spare. I adore how writers such as Amy Bloom, Pat Califia, Sarah Waters, and especially Margaret Atwood break up bits and pieces of different stories by placing them between each other. Doing that is difficult while holding the reader's attention. Some authors manage rougher transitions than others. Ms. Teppers are about middle of the line insofar as that is concerned. She's not so smooth as Margaret Atwood but nowhere near as rough as David Brin's. So I dug that.

The really great bits of Visitor have little to do with transition, though. Ms. Tepper uses more of the five senses other than sight to describe things in the first chapter than most authors use in an entire novel. ( )
  SeditiousBroom | Jan 8, 2009 |
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Spalenka, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380821001, Mass Market Paperback)

Do people change their ways? The Visitor explores this question on a number of levels in a postapocalyptic setting. Centuries after a catastrophic asteroid strike on Earth, survivors have rebuilt a society of religious conservatism and repression. Past technology is remembered as magic, and violent sorcery is a common political tool. Young Dismé Latimer is only concerned with surviving her abusive childhood until she discovers the journal of ancestor Nell Latimer, a scientist chosen to survive the asteroid and preserve as much human knowledge as possible. As the forces of good and evil, of science and magic, begin to converge and conflict, Dismé learns the truth about the world that came before and begins to understand that she, like Nell, has a role to play in the current preservation of Earth.

Tepper's writing is always skillful and eminently readable, and she's not afraid to tackle big ideas as well as individual stories of growth and change. Although the novel loses some focus toward the end, it paints a compelling picture of a society on the point of disintegration and graphically demonstrates how humans who are unaware of their own history are in fact likely to repeat it. --Roz Genessee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:34 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"When an asteroid crashed into the Earth hundreds of years ago in the twenty-first century, much of what was considered civilization was obliterated. All that remains of that time are paltry fragmented memories of science and life colored by myth and superstition. The "magic" that once was America died horribly, along with most of the planet's inhabitants. But a wasted world is coming back alive - despite the tyranny and cruel punishments that the repressive ruling order inflicts daily on a greatly reduced populace." "Disme Latimer's entire family was lost forever, though not as a result of global cataclysm. Rather, much more recent and mysterious circumstances made Disme an orphan, leaving the gentle, troubled young woman at the mercy of a cruel stepmother, an abusive stepsister ... and a book." "A sacred, unsettling tome written by an ancestor - the courageous scientist Nell Latimer, who left a husband and family behind in her attempt to salvage something of the post-castastrophe world - Disme's book contains disturbing ideas and revelations that are compelling a shy youth to take bold and dangerous action. But common "wisdom" and lore warn of malevolent entities out in the world, and advise would-be adventurers to stay where they are. Yet other myths suggest that the selfless band of planet-repairing scientists - including Disme's brave forebear - have somehow, miraculously, survived to this day. And Disme Latimer will uncover the truth and reclaim a lost world, whatever and wherever it might be."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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