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The Sparrow (1996)

av Mary Doria Russell

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

Serier: The Sparrow (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
7,5514011,149 (4.14)1 / 1008
The sole survivor of a crew sent to explore a new planet, Jesuit priest Emilio Sandoz discovers an alien civilization that raises questions about the very essence of humanity, an encounter that leads Sandoz to a public inquisition and the destruction of his faith.
  1. 140
    Children of God av Mary Doria Russell (mrstreme)
  2. 132
    A Canticle for Leibowitz av Walter M. Miller Jr. (prezzey)
    prezzey: Both are good solid science fiction novels featuring Roman Catholic monks.
  3. 71
    Speaker for the Dead av Orson Scott Card (sturlington)
    sturlington: Also about first contact with an alien civilization that humans cannot understand.
  4. 50
    Eifelheim av Michael Flynn (aulsmith, vwinsloe)
    aulsmith: Another Catholic priest deals with aliens
    vwinsloe: Religion/first contact
  5. 50
    Boken om märkliga nya ting av Michel Faber (GCPLreader)
  6. 62
    A Case of Conscience av 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.
  7. 31
    Under skinnet av Michel Faber (Anonym användare)
  8. 21
    Anathem av 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
    Tidmaskinen av H. G. Wells (Tanya-dogearedcopy)
    Tanya-dogearedcopy: First Contact sections of both novels are remarkably similar
  10. 33
    The Dazzle of Day av 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.… (mer)
  11. 22
    Archangel av Sharon Shinn (espertus)
  12. 11
    Eden av Stanisław Lem (pitjrw)
    pitjrw: A much better book on the uncertainties, misapprehensions, and danger of first contact.
  13. 11
    Himmelrikets nycklar av A. J. Cronin (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Missionary priests deal with abuse, spiritual questioning and alien cultures
  14. 01
    The Faded Sun Trilogy: Kesrith, Shon'jir, and Kutath av 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 av Brian Moore (amanda4242)
  16. 12
    Hyperion av Dan Simmons (tetrachromat)
    tetrachromat: Both juxtapose religion and science fiction. Hyperion is also [IMHO] a significantly better book.
  17. 01
    Daniel Stein, Interpreter av Ludmila Ulitskaya (spiphany)
    spiphany: A central theme of both books is the examination of faith, both within and outside of organized religion
  18. 01
    Bright of the Sky av Kay Kenyon (Anonym användare)
  19. 01
    Wulfsyarn av Phillip Mann (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both feature an unusual mix of alien contact and religion
  20. 02
    Dark Eden av Chris Beckett (JGoto)
    JGoto: Not quite as good, but some similar themes and an interesting read.

(visa alla 21 rekommendationerna)

To Read (440)
1990s (299)

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Visa 1-5 av 399 (nästa | visa alla)
This SF novel published in 1996, is more like a mainstream one which uses SF tropes - which probably accounts for the unbelievability of much of it. It is set in what is now an alternative history, since it deals with the discovery of an extraterrestrial signal from a planet around Alpha Centuri in a 2019 which has no smartphones, internet or any of the other things taken for granted in the modern day, although weirdly, someone in their 30s is asked if they remember television.

An expedition is secretly mounted by the Jesuit religious order to visit the new planet, comprised of an unlikely group of a Jesuit priest, Sandoz, an artist/gardener, a doctor, an engineer, an astronomer, a woman called Sofia who is very good at coding skills into smart computer systems, a senior Jesuit who is an ex-military man from Texas, and a man who we never find much out about, apart from him being a musician - the signals are in the form of songs - as he is soon killed off. Apart from him, the other expedition members are old friends of at least one other person in the group.

Although some of the essentials are thought through, they would have benefited from having someone from Nasa along, for example, as there is no thought of having an alien contact protocol, which accounts for many of the subsequent mistakes. When they finally arrive, they spend weeks wandering around, documenting forest wildlife and trying out the native foods on themselves, which seems pretty foolhardy. And one - the engineer - burns up too much fuel with fancy flying in the landing craft so that a later mishap means they have no means of returning to their ship in orbit. They spend the whole story lurching from one bungle to another.

Meanwhile, they have met a group of native people who are peaceful herbivores living in a rock-cut village. The word 'herbivores' is used advisedly, as it becomes clear before too long that the Runa, as they are known, are prey to the dominant carnivorous species, the Jana'ata, who are the 'singers' and who possess the higher technology, including radio. Predation has become more civilised over the centuries so that now the Runa are either bred for particular traits when they live alongside their masters in the city, or they live in rural communities where they harvest natural resources, such as flowers, to trade with the Jana'ata. In return they receive manufactured goods and - if they earn enough profit - are permitted at intervals to breed, although the humans only discover this too late, despite the clues. Initially, the humans settle in and learn the Runa language, and inadvertantly influence their hosts, with tragic results.

The book's structure is odd as it begins with Sandoz, sole survivor of the first expedition, back on Earth and facing condemnation for things he supposedly did (according to a second, commercial expedition which followed the first and broadcast back a message full of hearsay), and the lead-up to the expedition and then its arrival on the planet. Since it's a waiting game from the beginning until each of the other expedition members is killed off, this makes it difficult for a reader to invest in any of them. The style is also rather offputting as there is constant head hopping between characters within a scene, which distracts again from identifying with any of the characters.

The main issue though is that the book is extremely tedious. The whole sequence of Sandoz, whose hands have been mutilated by the village's Jena'ata 'sponsor' for his own purposes, being interrogated by other Jesuits while obviously traumatised and very ill, and the slow revelation of what happened previously, is dragged out for far too long. It is also hard to believe that the reality of what was done to him - he was sold to the Jena'ata local leader by the sponsor as a sex slave, in return for the sponsor being given Founder status and therefore allowed to breed (which as a third born son, he wasn't) - isn't obvious to his interrogators. Even the more sympathetic persist in believing that he was 'prostituting' himself despite his injuries and general condition. So his 'cure' is to force him to tell them in detail what happened, which takes months before he is finally recovered enough to be able to do so without being physically sick.

This all came over as completely incredible: the awareness of abuse even when the book was written should surely have meant that the first person they engaged to help him would have been a rape counsellor. It was also highly implausible that a carnivorous species would keep prey 'animals' such as the Runa for sexual use or that they could contemplate using an alien for such a purpose. It would literally be bestiality for them, and I can't see that they would get any 'enjoyment' from it. As this is such a main aspect of the whole book, it undercuts its credibility entirely.

There are some nicely written vignettes in the story, and it is an exploration of belief in God and whether that can withstand horror and tragedy, but I didn't find the portrayal of Sandoz as a 'saint' after they find the Runa convincing either. Given that it was a chore to read until near the end when the carnvivorous sponsor arrives and it gets a bit more interesting, I can't say I enjoyed it, hence the 1 star rating. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
More fantasy than SciFi.Very little real science. On arrival, with very little observation they land and start interacting. The whole Catholic church meets Alien is not well presented. The final twist is just insult on top injury. ( )
  NoelShortt | Nov 13, 2023 |
Very interesting. Recommend. The god angle is thought provoking. ( )
  xfitkitten | Nov 13, 2023 |

I found the subject matter repulsive. But the book is so well-written. It's hard to divorce the subject matter from the writing.

Mary Doria Russell did an outstanding job of investigating the human condition. And in the end, that's what science fiction is all about. As much as I had a hard time with the book, it's a five-star book. One that I will probably not re-read.

But I may move on to a sequel. ( )
  Tom_Wright | Oct 11, 2023 |
I lack the capacity to adequately describe this book. Russell worldbuilds with the trained eye of a sociologist, but the light touch of truly a gifted novelist. However, what really makes her work is a dedication to exploration of issues of moral complexity, grittiness, desperation and redemption.
The Sparrow is without equal. ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (4 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Russell, Mary Doriaprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
diBondone, GiottoOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Viernne, BéatriceÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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For Maura E. Kirby
Mary L. Dewing

quarum sine auspicio hic
liber in lucem non esset
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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
Information från den engelska sidan med allmänna fakta. Redigera om du vill anpassa till ditt språk.
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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The sole survivor of a crew sent to explore a new planet, Jesuit priest Emilio Sandoz discovers an alien civilization that raises questions about the very essence of humanity, an encounter that leads Sandoz to a public inquisition and the destruction of his faith.

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