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Earth by David Brin
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Earth (original 1990; edition 1990)

by David Brin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,903373,598 (3.85)99
Member:reading_fox
Title:Earth
Authors:David Brin
Info:Spectra (1990), paperback
Collections:Recommendations ONLY, Your library, Science fiction
Rating:*****
Tags:!bri, science fiction, use, lab lit

Work details

Earth by David Brin (1990)

  1. 30
    The Forge of God by Greg Bear (TomWaitsTables)
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    Air: Or, Have Not Have by Geoff Ryman (psybre)
    psybre: A masterfully-written fiction that looks at the impact of the internet and technology from the lens of a third-world community, "Earth" on a more personal, microcosmic scale.
  3. 00
    Perdido Street Station by China Miéville (freddlerabbit)
  4. 11
    Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner (Sassm)
    Sassm: Both books are set in a 'near future' environment and (incidentally to the main plots) have a jolly good go at predicting how communication technology will shape society. The books are very different, but the similarities are such that a reader who was interested by Earth will probably also be intrigued by the much earlier book Stand on Zanzibar.… (more)
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» See also 99 mentions

English (35)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  English (37)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Takes the concept of working from home to a whole new level. The future looks a bit dismal, but there's hope in finding a community on-line. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
This is not an easy read in spite of the well written, accessible prose, some good characterization, and some exciting scenes. The difficulty is due to the ambitious scope of the book which seems to necessitate numerous plot strands, myriad characters, and frequent expositions and infodumps. Personally I am not wired for reading nonfiction, I am always grateful to novelists who manage to impart some new knowledge to me packaged in their fiction. Indeed, I am also grateful to David Brin for the bits of knowledge I picked up from this book about astronomy, homeostasis, biology and such. Unfortunately during the first half of this book I had the feeling that entertainment is not a priority for Brin in the composition of this book, I am not even sure it is of secondary importance. Halfway through the book I was frankly a little bored and took a break to read some other books and I resumed reading it a week later. I did not want to abandon it all together because the major plot strand is very interesting (and I paid full price for the book!). I am glad I persevered because the second half of the book makes it all worthwhile.

Set in 2038 (written in 1990) the basic plot of Earth is about a man-made tiny little black hole that is accidentally dropped into the Earth and begins to devour the planet from the inside atom by atom; left unchecked there would eventually be nothing left of our planet. A team of scientists go after this little runaway black hole and make some startling discoveries in the process. The lost little black hole is an attempt to create a cheap new source of energy, as human civilization is in a state of general dystopia approaching the point of apocalyptic collapse. The maximum sustainable human population has been passed and food is scarce, and the cities are polluted. This is a world Brin is cautioning us away from.

While the book grew on me, exponentially in the second half, I think it could have benefited from being about 200 pages shorter. I feel that it would have been much tighter and better paced and easier to read. More often than not my eyes start to glaze over when I read the exposition passages, but in all fairness to Brin I think he explains the science better than most sci-fi writers that I have read, unfortunately, there is just a little too much of it here for me. Brin clearly cares very much about the environmental issues he raised in this book, almost to the detriment of the story. However, he is a gifted storyteller, and he does write good prose and dialogue. The central characters in the book are quite well developed and believable, but there are just too many of them. The narrative is based on multiple viewpoints as expected, but it caused the early part of the novel to feel fragmented, particularly as some of the point of view characters do not seem to be of much consequence in the grand scheme of things. Brin does bring most of the strands together by the end though, and the explosive (not to mention implosive) climax is quite thrilling. While I don't believe that it is the job of science fiction to predict the future, Earth is successfully prophetic on several counts; the advent of the worldwide web, e-mails, spams, web forums, citizen reporters, global warming and rising sea levels etc. Hopefully, the imminent collapse of the planet's environment won't be one of them, but then that is Brin's main motivation for writing the book I think.

At the end of the day, I would just about rate this book at 4 stars, probably something like 3.8 or some similarly silly decimals. Worth a read if you have the time and patience. My next Brin book will be from his famed Uplift saga. ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
A prescient book describing the planet wrecked by climate change, biodiversity loss and overpopulation. Also describes the Internet in a way which is perfectly recognisable in 2015. Plus black holes and gravitational lasers! ( )
  supremumlimit | Jul 28, 2015 |
Sad to say, this book was a clunker. It looked promising in the beginning--like it was going to be a parable about the dark side of technological progress. And it might have worked, had Brin kept his story on a smaller scale, focusing on the effect an abused planet was having on a few people. Unfortunately, he decided to attempt writing an epic, with the result that there were too many characters involved in too many subplots that I couldn't very invested in.

Given the fact that the book was published in 1990 and takes place in 2038, it's interesting to read it in 2012, roughly the half-way point. In some things, Brin was quite prescient, e.g. his portrayal of the Earth suffering from climate change, and especially his take on the pervasive presence of the Internet (which he calls the World Net). In other cases, the story is filled with anachronisms: the space shuttle program is still active, and people are still wondering in 2038 whether there is water on Mars. But the anachronisms could have simply been considered quaint and charming if the approach to the story had been better.

There is one exceptional scene in the first 374 pages, where disaster befalls those tending a space station. I wasn't prepared an additional 200 pages to find out whether there was another. The book became too much of a slog. I gave up. ( )
  kvrfan | Apr 25, 2015 |
bookshelves: published-1990, sci-fi, environmental-issues, winter-20132014, tbr-busting-2014, fraudio, epic-proportions, dystopian, desert-regions, lifestyles-deathstyles
Read from December 18, 2013 to January 11, 2014

Description: Set in the year 2038, the book is a cautionary tale of the harm humans can cause their planet via disregard for the environment and reckless scientific experiments. The book has a large cast of characters and Brin uses them to address a number of environmental issues including endangered species, global warming, refugees from ecological disasters, ecoterrorism, and the social effects of overpopulation. The plot of the book involves an artificially created black hole which has been lost in the Earth's interior and the attempts to recover it before it destroys the planet. The events and revelations which follow reshape humanity and its future in the universe.

A formerly restrained singularity has broken loose and is comfortably nestled in the earth's core EATING THE PLANET FROM THE INSIDE OUT. nom nom nom. Bring new meaning to Hitler's beloved Hollow Earth Theory:

@25% point: A BIG read/listen that has me in its grips. Not a regular customer of sci-fi yet once into an epic such as this, I'm away.

@100% Scary storyline; it's dystopian sci-fi so I expected to be disconcerted, however events caught my horror bone in a vice. Loses a star because Brin's characters didn't jump out off the page and into believable people.

Singularly(!) recommended.

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  mimal | Jan 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
De auteur behoort tot de betere, meer wetenschappelijk gerichte s.f.-schrijvers, die recent bekendheid verwierven. 'Aarde' speelt in 2038 en draait om de spectaculaire strijd om twee 'zwaartekracht-singulariteiten'; daaromheen weeft Brin echter talrijke andere verhaallijnen en problemen die hij de volgende 50 jaar ziet ontwikkelen en die hij met uitgebreide '2038'-documentatie illustreert. Kernvraag is onze verhouding tot de Aarde die hij als een intelligent organisme voorstelt, waarvan terloops een biografie wordt ingelast en die ten slotte een hoofdrol blijkt te spelen. Het singulariteiten-conflict overtuigt weinig en heel wat theorie verzwaart de tekst, maar vele voorspellingen en inzichten en suggesties boeien en verrassen wèl.
(Biblion recensie, R.C.L. Smets.)
added by karnoefel | editNBD / Biblion
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Brinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Davidson, DennisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jensen, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First came a supernova, dazzling the universe in brief, spendthrift glory before ebbing into twisty, multispectral clouds of new-forged atoms.
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Book description
Set in the year 2038, the book is a cautionary tale of the harm humans can cause their planet via disregard for the environment and reckless scientific experiments. The book has a large cast of characters and Brin uses them to address a number of environmental issues including endangered species, global warming, refugees from ecological disasters, ecoterrorism, and the social effects of overpopulation. The plot of the book involves an artificially created black hole which has been lost in the Earth's interior and the attempts to recover it before it destroys the planet. The events and revelations which follow reshape humanity and its future in the universe.
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A microscopic black hole has accidently fallen into the Earth's core and the entire planet is in danger of being destroyed within two years.

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