EARTHLING by Tony Daniel


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 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.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-85571-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997


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