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Earthling [NOOK Book]

Overview


Orf is an intelligent drilling machine, designed to probe to the very center of the Earth. What he finds deep under the Earth's crust is a living force so radically unexpected that our life on the surface is altered by its discovery. But as the world around him changes, and the Pacific Northwest is transformed by cataclysmic earthquakes and social upheavals, Orf must change as well, becoming both myth and monster, savior and sage to future ...
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Earthling

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Overview


Orf is an intelligent drilling machine, designed to probe to the very center of the Earth. What he finds deep under the Earth's crust is a living force so radically unexpected that our life on the surface is altered by its discovery. But as the world around him changes, and the Pacific Northwest is transformed by cataclysmic earthquakes and social upheavals, Orf must change as well, becoming both myth and monster, savior and sage to future generations of humanity.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Disjointed non-novel cobbled together from three long stories, by the author of Warpath (1993). In the near future, the "Matties" (eco-fanatics) of Washington State's Olympic peninsula are battling loggers and the government over the establishment of Skykomish, an ecological protectorate. Meanwhile, a mining robot with the memories of geologist Victor Wu rusts in the rain until geologist and Park Ranger Andrew Hutton rescues him and puts him to work. Deep underground, the robot, Orf (Orpheus), discovers some strange rocky intelligences, the terranes. On the surface, however, war rages between Matties and loggers, and Orf's tunnel is sabotaged. A series of earthquakes causes economic and political collapse, so Andrew joins with other Rangers to live in the treetops, while the rest of society devolves into tribes and Orf dwindles into a legendary monster. Years later, Ranger Jarrod travels south with a cargo of antibiotics and learns what Yosemite's Rangers have discovered. After dreadful hardships, he finds out that the Earth's magnetic field is reversing, and only the soothing efforts of Orf's terrane pals will prevent the mother of all earthquakes. Finally, a millennium hence, everybody has learned to "trance" (commune) with the terranes and has the ability, mentally, to explore distant stars and planets.

Daniel's stimulating ideas deserved a rethink and rewrite, not this lumpy fix-up treatment with its all-but-irrelevant robot.

From the Publisher
'A writer to watch in the 1990s.' —- Gardner Dozois
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312870867
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 11/15/1997
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,147,151
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Tony Daniel is the author of Warpath. He lives in New York City.
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Read an Excerpt

'A writer to watch in the 1990s.' --- Gardner Dozois
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Rough Transitions, but a brilliant first section and otherwise quite interesting.

    This book is in three parts; the first, "The Robot's Twilight Companion" is the strongest of the three. It relates the story of how Orf gained sentience through Orf's perspective. The chronology of how this happened wasn't entirely clear to me (again, it's told through Orf's perspective, and it is eminently reasonable that Orf's memories of its earliest consciousness would be muddled) but it involved a tech only partially turning off a decommissioned mining robot and a geology grad student imbuing a mining robot with what remained of the consciousness of his dead mentor, Victor Wu.

    Orf is a wonderful viewpoint character, and unlike most of the other sentient A.I.s I've read. It has no knowledge of the outside world, no connection to any global databases to pull information from, and it wasn't intended to be an A.I. at all, so was given no algorithms to help it understand humanity. It knows rocks, and it reads books, and it observes everything it possibly can. Through Orf's eyes we get a little bit of a sense of coming apocalypse, but Orf itself can't understand what it is observing because it does not have the proper frame of reference. Orf's viewpoint is very much the viewpoint of a precocious child, and that lends a great deal of tension and tragedy to the events that unfold around it. "The Robot's Twilight Companion" firmly belongs in the tradition that flows from Mary Shelly's Frankentstein, and it is a worthy addition.

    "Pennyroyal Tea," jumps ahead 200 years. The apocalypse has happened, and the viewpoint character is Jarrod, a member of the Rangers, U.S. Forest Service personnel that banded together to protect Olympia National Park from both loggers and environmental extremists immediately after the world fell apart. Jarrod is a likable viewpoint character; the quest structure works decently well; I enjoyed exploring the various cults Jarrod gets tangled with. However, it was a very dark future and the section with the Cougars was downright painful to read. "Pennyroyal Tea" ended very abruptly with Jarrod meeting Orf and a second apocalypse that rendered Jarrod's quest futile.

    "The New Exiles of California," makes the transition from "The Robot's Twilight Companion" to "Pennyroyal Tea" seem brilliantly smooth. Time jumps 800 years further into the future, where contact has been made with other intelligences and an entirely new science has arisen to do everything, and very little of that is ever explained.

    The tone of this section was bizarre. The viewpoint character is Noah, a shaman, a symbologist, and a scholar, worrying about something called the Chunk, that everyone can tell is heading towards Earth at faster-than-light speeds and is messing with their trance states, which is how communication is accomplished in this future. His worry, however, takes the form of musing on history and rambles about aesthetics. The section is very short; he has an "Aha!" moment where he intuitively grasps the Chunk's purpose and galvanizes everyone to save the planet. And there the story ends -- we are left to guess whether Noah succeeded, or even whether or not he was correct in his intuitive leap. Orf makes another cameo as Noah's psychologist, but has no real impact on the story whatsoever.

    While I only loved the first section, the latter two will work better for others, and Daniel's prose, ideas, and characters were quite strong.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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