Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book Review: Downward to the Earth

Last week I continued on my way through classic SF into the 1970s with Robert Silverberg's classic, Downward to the Earth.  A story of a man seeking redemption and understanding form the people and places he has wronged, the book focuses on a man named Edmund Gunderson who used to be the colonial advisor to a planet called Belzagor (called Holman's World when Gunderson was in charge) the planet has been relinquished back to its indigenous population, an elephant-like reach called the nildoror, who have requested all Earth-men and Earth-technology be removed from the planet as it fails.

The book is clearly heavily influenced by Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkenss (one of my favourite horror stories, BTW), in themes, names of characters and even descriptions.  The story moves along very well and if I hadn't already had another character in mind for this Wednesday, Edmund would certainly have ended up as a Genre Character of the week.

The novel was intriguing, thought-provoking, and emotionally effective.  At 165 pages I would strongly recommend it for anyone interested in giving SF a try.

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