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The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis
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The Man Who Fell to Earth (1963)

by Walter Tevis

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» See also 47 mentions

English (22)  Italian (3)  Danish (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Nihilism Я US; we're so bad that's good. ( )
  quondame | Nov 30, 2018 |
Well, this was strange. Written in the sixties but set in the eighties, this is the story of an alien who comes to earth with plans to build a ship to send back to his planet to bring the rest of his people (which is a small number--they are dying out) to earth in order to manipulate the people of earth into not blowing themselves up with nukes. How he is going to do that is somewhat part of the story. Ultimately, he fails, partly because he is desperately lonely, partly because humans get in his way, and partly because he becomes an alcoholic. I was perplexed by this story from the beginning, maybe because Tevis gets the eighties so very, very wrong (I mean, he wasn't to know, of course, but if there was any real speculation on his part here, it was poor), and that made it quite hard to invest in the story. I also felt held at a distance from all of the characters, and the story worked out in pretty much exactly how I figured it would--which was not terribly compelling. Perhaps this is one of those books that really needed to be read when it was written. For me it was just this side of a dud.
  lycomayflower | Nov 15, 2018 |
The book is a tiny thing; the message is massive. I would consider this the very height of hard science fiction. Rather than ruminating over the technology (although it does go into some detail) or getting hung up in the alien-as-Christ trope (although it does touch upon it) the author tells a very human story.

Alcoholism and self-doubt are rampant, though I never felt that the book became overly angsty. The book captures the loneliness of being stuck in an alien world and exemplified the very real concept that if there was an extraterrestrial - it is likely we would never be truly capable of grasping his perspective any more than we can grasp the perspective of another animal.

( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Written in 1963, this is a "futuristic" story set in the 1980's of an alien who comes to Earth to try to save his the people of his own planet and Earth's people too. Of course, it doesn't turn out exactly as he expects. I liked how it was written, how the author tried to write it as set in the future, but you could tell he was still in a 1960's mindset. It is short and an interesting read. I first read it in 1978 and still enjoyed it in "the future" of 2017!! ( )
  TerriS | Apr 14, 2017 |
Walter Tevis's The Man Who Fell to Earth is a contemplative and tragic science fiction tale concerning an alien from the distant planet Anthea who comes to earth seeking to save his dying world and its inhabitabts from extinction. With overt allusions to the Greek mythology of Icarus, an Athenian who, unable to tread that narrow path between complacency and hubris, flew too too close to the sun, fell into the sea, and ultimately drowned. Initially the extraterrestrial Newton exhibits great determination and confidence, only to sink into despair after outside forces intervene, and, dreams dashed, he finally succumbs to a most common human frailty. Though I found Tevis's prose rather ordinary and nowhere near the poetic beauty that some have suggested, this is nevertheless a deeply moving story, which also resonates as a compelling portrait of alienation, the bitter amalgam of isolation and loneliness. ( )
  ghr4 | Apr 9, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Walter Tevisprimary authorall editionscalculated
O'Brien, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
And so it was I entered the broken world
To race the visionary company of love, its voice
An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled),
But not for long to hold each desperate choice.
HART CRANE
Dedication
For Jamie who knows Anthea better than I
First words
After two miles of walking he came to a town.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345431618, Paperback)

T.J. Newton is an extraterrestrial who goes to Earth on a desperate mission of mercy. But instead of aid, Newton discovers loneliness and despair that ultimately ends in tragedy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:33 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The basis for a feature film starring David Bowie in his first major role, The Man Who Fell to Earth tells the story of Thomas Jerome Newton, an alien disguised as a human who comes to Earth on a mission to save his people. Devastated by nuclear war, his home planet, Anthea, is no longer habitable. Newton lands in Kentucky and starts patenting Anthean technology, amassing the fortune he needs to build a spaceship that will bring the last 300 Anthean survivors to Earth. But instead of the help he seeks, he finds only self-destruction, sinking into alcoholism, abandoning his spaceship, and can save neither his people nor himself. This is the poignant story of a man fallen to addiction, materialism, and loneliness. "Beautiful science fiction... [Newton] acquires a moving, tragic force as the stranger, caught and destroyed in a strange land... The story of an extraterrestrial visitor from another planet is designed mainly to say something about life on this one." The New York Times… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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