Phytosphere

( 2 )

Overview

After settlement negotiations between humanity and the alien Tarsalans go horribly wrong, the Earth is engulfed in a mysterious green sphere-blocking all sunlight from reaching the surface. Only two scientists-one isolated on the Moon's lunar colony, the other trapped on a dying Earth-possess the minds and the means to destroy the sphere before it renders the world completely barren...

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Overview

After settlement negotiations between humanity and the alien Tarsalans go horribly wrong, the Earth is engulfed in a mysterious green sphere-blocking all sunlight from reaching the surface. Only two scientists-one isolated on the Moon's lunar colony, the other trapped on a dying Earth-possess the minds and the means to destroy the sphere before it renders the world completely barren...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Mackay (Tides) manages to breathe life into the tired alien-invasion genre, deftly juggling hard sci-fi and a bleak tale of postapocalyptic survival. In the far future, an advanced, alien race called the Tarsalans, having failed to gain immigration rights from Earth's government, make a last-ditch effort to control negotiations by blanketing the planet in a mysterious shroud that blocks out all sunlight. On the Moon, scientist Gerry Thorndike, a recovering alcoholic, seeks a way to reverse the so-called phytosphere and save his estranged, Earth-bound family. Back on Earth, Gerry's Nobel Prize-winning brother, Neil, scientific adviser to the president, launches a rival crusade to destroy the alien shroud. Meanwhile, Gerry's wife, Glenda, struggles to protect her family as perpetual darkness decimates crops and plant life, inspiring violence among neighbors desperate for food. Neil and Gerry's prolonged, dispassionate debates over the task at hand teem with intriguing concepts, but often eclipse any sense of urgency over their imperiled loved ones. Luckily, Glenda's tale, peppered throughout, drips with claustrophobic suspense and ruthless antagonists: corrupt lawmen, starving predators and the Tarsalans themselves. While the resolution is anything but unexpected, Mackay churns up enough high-tech intrigue and old-fashioned suspense to make a fresh read. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451461582
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/5/2007
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 7.16 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining read, with a few flaws

    These kinds of books never cease to amaze me. Maybe because I'm into bleak books and the struggle to survival is something I look to enjoy for an entertaining read. Although, sometimes I get these types of books and read them so that I can learn to appreciate what's around me more and to not take things for granted all the time (in other words, so I can learn how to count my blessings once in a while). You certainly feel this way when you read through Phytosphere. Naturally of course, this is something that's virtually impossible to picture happening to us (although, you'll never know!). Yet the lessons are still noted and although not fully learned, you do feel as if you need to appreciate something, or someone to feel good after reading this book.

    It's pretty bleak. Especially with Glenda and her kids. The moments where she confronts the 'policemen' are especially chilling and very realistic. I cannot quite picture how I would deal with this situation myself, but Glenda proves to be strong and manages to keep it together with her children. It's admirable and although the kids play cliched roles, the story arc involving them and Glenda provides a good read. You can also feel the frustration and helplessness of Gerry as he's millions of miles away (literally) and his much more 'smarter' and more successful brother undermines Gerry's ideas, refuses to listen to him and persuades others to ignore them. It's a little obvious to the reader what might befall Neil (Gerry's brother) in the end, but you can't help but feel that certain satisfaction when it does happen.

    There are quite a number of thrilling action moments, which makes the reading of this book go faster and more exciting. I would have to say, although the majority of the plot is very good and I had fun reading it, it just sounds too cliche and could make for a cheesy sci fi flick shown on television. Also, although there was a good description on the Tarsalans and their behavior I wanted to know more about them. There wasn't much information except they wanted access to Earth and have been negotiating with regards to immigration. There's a bit of information given here and there throughout the novel but it still doesn't feel like a complete explanation. Unless there's a book that precedes the events before Phytosphere (which I am not aware of, and if there is one, please let me know) it feels as if there's information lacking and you're left with a tidbit of information on the aliens when there should have been more offered to round out the story a bit more.

    A cliche storyline, with its thrilling moments, and its bleak moments. A few holes in the plot, however with all of this, the book is still worth a read. Do give this a try. It's worth it, just for an entertaining read.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A well written apocalyptic science fiction thriller

    Angry as they failed to gain special status including expediting of immigration to earth, the Tarsalans decide honey does not work they turn to vinegar to force the recalcitrant earthlings to agree to their terms. They do this by constructing a phytosphere curtain around the planet that keeps sunlight from reaching earth.-------------- On the Moon, alcoholic scientist Gerry Thorndike feverishly works on a means to eliminate the phytosphere that is destroying the planet and subsequently his family as his wife Glenda, struggles to put food on the table and protect their children from marauders willing to kill for a meal on a world in which the lack of sunlight is turning Earth into a wasteland.------------------------ This is a refreshing alien invasion tale that also provides a warning on a curtain (pollution) blocking the sun. The story line rotates between two fault lines that are quite different in design. On the one hand, the fascinating debates between the two brothers is quite interesting as the science seems pertinent, but in fairness also takes away from the dying earth doomsday countdown as time has run out. The other segue focuses on Glenda¿s survival track as she battles with odious officials demanding handouts or else, now nasty neighbors turned into deadly enemies and the foreboding Tarsalans. PHYTOSPHERE is an innovative well written apocalyptic science fiction thriller.----------- Harriet Klausner

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