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The Sparrow (1996)

by Mary Doria Russell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Sparrow (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,0843791,079 (4.16)1 / 988
The Sparrow is 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.… (more)
Recently added bywhiskye, Bouman, private library, JKraft, scipio, anomalousZ, yaviemir, quavmo, juliwoods, _adam
  1. 130
    Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (mrstreme)
  2. 122
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (prezzey)
    prezzey: Both are good solid science fiction novels featuring Roman Catholic monks.
  3. 71
    Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card (sturlington)
    sturlington: Also about first contact with an alien civilization that humans cannot understand.
  4. 72
    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. 40
    The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (GCPLreader)
  6. 30
    Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (aulsmith, vwinsloe)
    aulsmith: Another Catholic priest deals with aliens
    vwinsloe: Religion/first contact
  7. 31
    Under the Skin by Michel Faber (Anonymous user)
  8. 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.
  9. 21
    The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (Tanya-dogearedcopy)
    Tanya-dogearedcopy: First Contact sections of both novels are remarkably similar
  10. 11
    Eden by Stanisław Lem (pitjrw)
    pitjrw: A much better book on the uncertainties, misapprehensions, and danger of first contact.
  11. 11
    The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Missionary priests deal with abuse, spiritual questioning and alien cultures
  12. 33
    The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss (Rivercrest, vwinsloe)
    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)
  13. 22
    Archangel by Sharon Shinn (espertus)
  14. 01
    The Faded Sun Trilogy by C. J. Cherryh (kaydern)
    kaydern: A book equally interested alien anthropology, but with more emphasis on military and sociology of alien-human interaction.
  15. 01
    Black Robe by Brian Moore (amanda4242)
  16. 12
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (tetrachromat)
    tetrachromat: Both juxtapose religion and science fiction. Hyperion is also [IMHO] a significantly better book.
  17. 01
    Wulfsyarn by Phillip Mann (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both feature an unusual mix of alien contact and religion
  18. 01
    Daniel Stein, Interpreter by Ludmila Oulitskaïa (spiphany)
    spiphany: A central theme of both books is the examination of faith, both within and outside of organized religion
  19. 01
    Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon (Anonymous user)
  20. 02
    The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (johnxlibris)

(see all 21 recommendations)

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1990s (301)
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» See also 988 mentions

English (374)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (378)
Showing 1-5 of 374 (next | show all)
Excellent. ( )
  cmcall | Jun 21, 2022 |
More literary than your typical scifi novel. More religious than your typical scifi novel. And disturbing, and shocking, and moving. Not a novel I would want to read twice, but glad that I read it once. There is something very unsettling about seeing someone so sure of their beliefs shaken to their core. ( )
  MarkLacy | May 29, 2022 |
A science fiction novel that focuses on the social sciences...

Best I've read in a LONG time. Read it. Now. For serious. ( )
  dcrampton | Apr 20, 2022 |
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. The next day, ignoring shouted questions and howls of journalistic outrage as he read, a Jesuit spokesman issued a short statement to the frustrated and angry media mob that had gathered outside Number 5's massive front door. "To the best of our knowledge, Father Emilio Sandoz is the sole survivor of the Jesuit mission to Rakhat. Once again, we extend our thanks to the U.N., to the Contact Consortium and to the Asteroid Mining Division of Ohbayashi Corporation for making the return of Father Sandoz possible. We have no additional information regarding the fate of the Contact Consortium's crew members; they are in our prayers. Father Sandoz is too ill to question at this time and his recovery is expected to take months. Until then, there can be no further comment on the Jesuit mission or on the Contact Consortium's allegations regarding Father Sandoz's conduct on Rakhat." This was simply to buy time.
  taurus27 | Apr 7, 2022 |
Takes 1/3 of the book to actually get going. First 1/3 is very very slow. Liked the characters, liked the aliens (though they weren't great aliens like Cherryh does, just sort of human-not-human). The big reveal was sad but also sort of meh. ( )
  Luminous-Path | Mar 26, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 374 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Russell, Mary Doriaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
diBondone, GiottoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viernne, BéatriceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.
 --  Chapter 1
It was predictable, in hindsight.
 --  Prologue
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.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

The Sparrow is 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.

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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.
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