Downward to the Earth

Downward to the Earth Robert Silverberg
  • Title: Downward to the Earth
  • Author: Robert Silverberg
  • ISBN: 9780765331731
  • Page: 404
  • Format: Paperback
  • Downward to the Earth Robert Silverberg Downward to the Earth Who knoweth the spirit of men that goeth upward and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth Ecclesiastes Okay they did resemble elephants it can t be denied That led many peopl
    Who knoweth the spirit of men that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth Ecclesiastes 3 21Okay, they did resemble elephants, it can t be denied That led many people to underestimate the Nildoror and their obviously fearsome commensals, the Sulidoror.But aliens should never be judged by human standards, as the Company learned toWho knoweth the spirit of men that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth Ecclesiastes 3 21Okay, they did resemble elephants, it can t be denied That led many people to underestimate the Nildoror and their obviously fearsome commensals, the Sulidoror.But aliens should never be judged by human standards, as the Company learned to its cost when Holman s World, now once again known as Belzagor, was given back to the natives and the Company sent packing.Now Edmund Gunderson, once head of the Company s operation on this world, has come back across the galaxy to settle old scores with the Nildoror If he can even get them to acknowledge his existence.Downward to the Earth is a classic from the golden age of Robert Silverberg s career in the 1970s His homage to Joseph Conrad s Heart of Darkness, it remains as fresh and powerful today as the day it was written Our Orb edition will have a map of Gunderson s journey across Belzagor and a new introduction by the author.
    • READ AUDIOBOOK ☆ Downward to the Earth - by Robert Silverberg
      Robert Silverberg

    About Robert Silverberg


    1. Robert Silverberg is one of science fiction s most beloved writers, and the author of such contemporary classics as Dying Inside, Downward to the Earth and Lord Valentine s Castle, as well as At Winter s End, also available in a Bison Books edition He is a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the winner of five Nebula Awards and five Hugo Awards In 2004 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America presented him with the Grand Master Award Silverberg is one of twenty nine writers to have received that distinction.


    936 Comments


    1. Strange, powerful book.Joseph Conrad first published his masterpiece Heart of Darkness in 1899 Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola s brilliant Vietnam War retelling of Conrad s work was first released eighty years later in 1979.Ten years before Coppola and seventy years after Conrad, Robert Silverberg published Downward to the Earth, his superlative tribute to Heart of Darkness.Gunderson, akin to Marlowe and Coppola s Willard, has returned to an alien planet station after that planet has been r [...]

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    2. gentle elephant things in the jungle furry man shaped things in the mist our hero, former colonial station chief, returns to this strange planet much changed the planet itself has changed its residents no longer considered mere animals, beasts of burden to be used as humans see fit they are people a surprisingly liberal future Earth now recognizes these beings as sentient, as does our hero he returns to this place, full of regret for past actions, craving understanding and redemption, yearning f [...]

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    3. This book is absolutely brilliant it represents the best of late 1960s New Wave SF, and the best of Robert Silverberg, so what do you need to know Normally I would sit down and write a pretty gushing review of how well it is written and what aspects of the story really resonated with me But since two of my colleagues at Fantasy Literature have already written stellar and comprehensive reviews covering all the points I would have made, I recommend you read their reviews instead Kat Hooper s revi [...]

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    4. Silverberg je izvrstan pisac Jednostavan, inteligentan i ma tovit Klasi na je to kritika na cijelu kulturu kolonijalizma bijelog ovjeka, a tako i osvije tenje pojedinaca te njihovo iskupljenje u elji da prona u oprost kod domicilnog stanovni tva Tako je glavni lik Gunderson, reprezentativan primjer ovjeka ustre mladosti i grje ne pro losti, te korporacijske indoktriniranosti Nakon to su Zemljani shvatili da na planetu Belzagoru, postoje ak dvije inteligentne vrste vi e inteligentni NILDORORI koj [...]

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    5. Up until last week, I hadn t read Robert Silverberg s brilliant sci fi novel Downward to the Earth in almost 27 years, but one scene remained as fresh in my memory as on my initial perusal the one in which the book s protagonist, Edmund Gundersen, comes across a man and a woman lying on the floor of a deserted Company station on a distant world, their still living bodies covered in alien fluid that is being dripped upon them by a basket shaped organism, whilst they themselves act as gestating ho [...]

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    6. ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.After being back on Earth for eight years, Edmund Gunderson returns to the formerly colonized planet Belzagor where he used to be one of the human rulers of the two intelligent species who live there the nildoror, who look much like elephants, and the sulidoror, who look like apes While Gunderson was on Belzagor, he considered these species to be soulless and stupid, but now that the humans have given up their control of the planet, he realizes that he sin [...]

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    7. This edition came with a really interesting introduction by the author himself in which he explains how he thought this was not very good when it was first published and, at first, taken aback by how well it was received He even withdrew it after it was nominated for a Nebula award to make way for, what he thought was the better book, Tower of Glass I have to say that I think this is one of his better efforts and certainly better than Tower of Glass.Silverberg also tells us how it was inspired b [...]

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    8. We are not separate from our environments, a point so often lost in the American personal responsibility self help bootstrap cultural cry for help A powerful emotional experience in a setting that feels truly alien Beware you who stare at the alien, the alien stares at you Ever think you pulled a turd from the free box, then you dust it off and find a gem This slow boiler nearly got abandoned Stick with it, you ll be glad you did view spoiler Ignorance is not bliss A planet that couldn t be trul [...]

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    9. Elephant people, misunderstood as beasts by the human empire homages to colonialist fiction Kipling Conrad an ex oppressor s journey out of darkness, into a slightly psychedelic light and the breakdown of species barriers or perhaps the notion of species Silverberg has an ear for music in his conjunction of words Exactly why I read SF.

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    10. Interlibrary loan courtesy of Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, WAA very interesting book Clearly inspired by Joseph Conrad s Heart of Darkness, it puts the spiritual journey in an extraterrestrial light.Silverberg s creation of another world and culture is excellent and makes you want to be a tourist if only not like the tourists in the book The epiphany that Gundersen has is only exceeded by the one the reader has, as if they have been travelling north with him.Also, an excellent take on [...]

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    11. First off can there be any other book covers as ugly as those in the reissued SF Masterworks series The highlighter pen pallet, the literal depictions of scenes from the novels, all so very clumsily composed Truly horrible But anyway For a book that draws from such a wealth of literary influences, Downward to the Earth is a remarkably unique work It s rough template is Joseph Conrad s Heart of Darkness, so we follow its protagonist on a voyage through a foreign land that has suffered during many [...]

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    12. Ah man, part of me really wants to give this 5 starsi love Silverberg, he is unbelievably great This was a beautifully conceived world, felt real, weirdly baroque, beautiful and horrible, and the ideas of redemption, pilgrimage and how we treat our fellow creatures totally gave this levels, a touch of the mystical and a bunch of stuff about human limits, arrogance, and general suckiness, but y know how we can overcome that

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    13. Silverberg writes a relatively short novel of alien human contact, comparing culture and religion and discussing the nature of a soul Nicely written, as a human returns to a planet to atone for his previous employment as a slave master to the native population.

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    14. Very nice Much of it, in fact, is magical So there is science fiction that I can like and admire My hate hate relationship with SF has ended.

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    15. Things the book did that I liked There are some interesting ideas about how life works on other planets The alien life was, in general, suitably alien The resemblance of the Nildoror to elephants was perhaps a bit weak, but the plants, insects, fungi, and other presumably non intelligent life were suitably alien in a way which is actually quite rare in SF the only better example which immediately springs to mind from my read list is Embassytown.Pretty much everything which we find out about Belz [...]

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    16. This is an old sci fi book by Robert Silverberg written in the 70 s What I really about this book and books of it s period is that Silverberg was able to write a short 200 pages or so book that managed to tell a very engaging story in one self contained novel It seems that nowadays you can t find a sci fi or fantasy book that s less than 400 pages long or is not one book of a trilogy or While I do like to read a well done series of books, I m impressed by writers like Silverberg who seem to ha [...]

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    17. An excellent SF rendition of Heart of Darkness I ve read two of the other SF renditions of it, those being Stations of the Tide, and The Drowned World This was definitely the better of the three The world building was outstanding, especially considering how short the novel is The world was totally believable, so we ll done it hardly seemed like it was a fictional planet.

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    18. Postcolonialism and science fiction were always going to be a natural pairing, given two of the genre s basic stories are the aliens coming here, and us going there And so it has proved, but this is one of the earlier examples, nearly half a century old now yet feeling much less dated than you might expect The story follows Gundersen, a former colonial administrator on a planet now relinquished to its native inhabitants an elephant like race, and a simian species, whose relationship the humans n [...]

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    19. Robert Silverberg is a master at bringing alien worlds to life This novel is no exception The planet Belzagor is an ex colonialized planet, similar to what Africa and India had under England Eight years after Earth has given control back to the nildoror, a species very much like elephants, an ex colonial agent, Edmund Gunderson, goes back in order to expunge some deep feelings of remorse about some of the things he had done.He learns about the nildoror, on his quest, than he ever knew about the [...]

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    20. Strange tale of the human subjugation of an alien planet and one man s journey to redeem his soul, told with Silverberg s incomparable mastery for creating rich, imaginative other worlds.

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    21. It s old science fiction topics echo and ips cells have already archived The book finished for science fiction.

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    22. Mild spoiler that doesn t affect the plot or story much There s a scene in this book that is pretty much exactly the same as in the movie Aliens The protagonist in the novel, Gunderson, finds two people who have alien hosts in their chests and the one person wakes up and says Kill me There s no Ripley or Newt in this book though so it s 100% a coincidence.

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    23. At some point in the last year it occurred to me that I d not read any SF in close to five years At school I d always taken pride in defending the SF genre against sniffy English teachers that would have preferred me to be reading Jane Bloody Austen instead of something a 14 year old boy might actually enjoy Even then though I did realise that a lot of the SF I read was lacking in some regards The prose could be stiff the characters had a tendency to the cardboard the resolutions to the plots we [...]

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    24. Years ago, Edmund Gunderson worked for the Company on Holman s World, a lush jungle planet with two sentient native species the nildoror, large elephantine herbivores, and the sulidoror, a race of hairy simian like creatures with powerful claws Neither had the means to make or use technological devices or buildings, and so most of the Company employees considered them little than talking animals, using them as beasts of burden for manual labor Times, and opinions, change After nearly a decade l [...]

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    25. Whoa, whoa.At it s core, Downward to Earth is an interpretation and modern adaptation of Conrad s Heart of Darkness There is much of the original still intact There is much that is changed, and greatly expanded upon.As in Ender s Game, I took issue with the conclusion s strangely religious tone but I wasn t offended by it s slyness, as I was in Ender s Game Sure, there s some strange missionary doctrine here, and the enlightenment of an unlikely protagonist but the message, the spiritual awakeni [...]

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    26. In his introduction to the edition I read, Silverberg says that as he wrote this book he worried that it was nothing than a failed Conrad imitation Conrad and Kipling are inspirations here, and he conceived the novel while in Africa in the late sixties, a time when almost all the old colonial holdings had gained liberation His creation of a planet after relinquishment is convincing and entertaining His sentient alien creatures, who remind earthlings of elephants, are sympathetic and fascinating [...]

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    27. I had read Downward to the Earth in the early 1970s when it came out from the Science Fiction Book Club, but I remembered very little Actually, I don t think I was ready then to understand it because I hadn t read The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, nor had I much understanding of colonial rule around the world Being 63 has given me the background to really appreciate this novel.Silverberg works very hard to give the reader a sense of alien culture and succeeds to a wonderful degree If you l [...]

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    28. This one was a real slog to get through Silverberg s attempt to create a science fiction Heart of Darkness was unfortunately not an overly successful one overall, the book is not very engaging Gunderson never emerges as an interesting character and the Nildoror Sulidoror seem admittedly, this is 40 years after it was written a bit to clicheed to work for me The plot twist is also made so blindingly obvious from very early in the book that Gunderson s discovery loses its effect near the end At th [...]

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    29. This is the fourth of Robert Silverberg s novels that I have read to date, all of which were published from 1969 to 1972 He is becoming a favorite author I ve read reviews of Downward to the Earth comparing it to Heart of Darkness I see that to a certain extent, though I like Silverberg s writing better than Joseph Conrad s I can also imagine its similarities to an unwritten sequel to Ursula K Le Guin s The Word for World is Forest It is certainly similar to Silverberg s own The Book of Skulls i [...]

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    30. Old fantasy sci fi, where the resident aliens look like elephants But they re sentient, and have their own developed languageAnd this space ranger who had been stationed on their planet goes back to make amends It was pretty good, a little silly at times hooray for sexy hallucinations , but quick and fun.

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