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Darwinia: A Novel of a Very Different Twentieth Century
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Darwinia: A Novel of a Very Different Twentieth Century

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  2,242 ratings  ·  237 reviews
In 1912, history was changed by the Miracle, when the old world of Europe was replaced by Darwinia, a strange land of nightmarish jungle and antedeluvian monsters. To some, the Miracle is an act of divine retribution; to others, it is an opportunity to carve out a new empire.

Leaving American now ruled by religious fundamentalism, young Guilford Law travels to Darwinia on a
ebook, 320 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Orb Books (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nathan Harrison
"Darwinia" has a four-star first half, and a one-star conclusion. An interesting premise that at first seems unlikely to be fully explained (in the good, mysterious way) is later unraveled in one of the most unbelievable and ridiculous revelations I've encountered in a long time. I'm a fan of pulp and wild-eyed, fevered imaginations, but the explanation for the the "Miracle" that converted old-world Europe into a wasteland of alien flora & fauna is beyond any hint of the suspension of disbel ...more
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I had certain expectations going into Darwinia: A Novel of a Very Different Twentieth Century and it didn't meet those expectations. It turned out that it wasn't about what I thought it was about at all. It had a big twist that completely turned my assumptions of the reality of the novel's world upside down. I didn't like how that twist was revealed so blatantly so early in the story.

I know I'm giving the impression that I disliked Darwinia, however I don't mean that at all. The story is very in
Regrettably, this book had so much potential which was never fully exploited (in my opinion, at the least). The alternative Europe setting promised much excitement and suspense. But that world was never fully realized. I really wanted to know more about "Darwinia" but in retrospect it seems that Robert Charles Wilson never really considered that to be the driving point of his book.

The characters were 2-dimensional and too many were killed-off nonchalantly to keep me interested in the plot.

The same author's Spin is a far better book, and there were points when the meta-reference became too much for me (yes, even me), but it's a really interesting premise that quite often delivers on its promise, especially in the first half. The second half, where the book threatens to eat itself, I'm not as big a fan of, but the storytelling works well. Wilson is a good writer.
Nuno Magalhães
Aug 13, 2014 Nuno Magalhães rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ao meu pior inimigo
Este livro deixou-me perplexo. Aliás, mais do que isso - estupefacto!

Sendo a Ficção Científica o meu género literário favorito, e sendo ainda raras as boas traduções de grande obras de FC para a Língua Portuguesa, foi com alguma expectativa que abordei a leitura deste Darwinia de Robert Charles Wilson (RCW), tanto mais que se trata de um livro da coleção Bang da SdE, que nos habituou já a traduções muito precisas e bem conseguidas, acompanhadas por boas edições sem gralhas. Infelizmente, este li
♍ichael Ƒierce
Nov 11, 2012 ♍ichael Ƒierce rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Philip K. Dick, and heady sci-fi

At firt glimpse I was immediately taken in by the cover stating Darwinia was a Hugo Award Finalist.

An important fact in my book.

The quotes I read here and there said it was a variation on The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells, comparable to Philip K. Dick or A.E. van Vogt, and since then, armchair critics have said that it has a sprinkling of the Elder Gods mythos by H.P. Lovecraft, and that the creature portion was reminisce
This was OK. I remember seeing this book on the shelf when it came out way back when I was in high school (and in the middle of my longest-running SF phases) and being lured by the cover. I finally got around to reading it due to a dearth of reading options. (Hurricanes will do that to you.) I still think it has a lovely cover, and the blurb seemed to promise a book about ecology, evolution, and the 20-th century scientific spirit. I was excited about all of it.

Unfortunately, the book and the wr
Photographer in alt history 1920’s gets recruited into a battle for the memory of the universe taking place at the end of time. Which is a way more interesting summary than this book deserves.

Yeah, I think I need to stop digging through RCW’s back catalog in search of a book as brilliant and wonderful as Spin. There clearly isn’t one back there, and it isn’t worth having to slog through stuff like this.

This is supposed to be a skiffy meditation on immortality and memory and living, all wrapped i
This book is a kinetic tumble of genres: alternate history, science fiction, geographical survey, action thriller, horror, mythology. The story is idea-driven much more than character-driven; it's the detached logic of situations that makes many sections heartwrenching. The complete strangeness of Darwinia juxtaposes the absence of Europe, direct ancestor of my literary development. Indeed, in this scenario, I would not have been born at all, as my paternal grandfather would have disappeared in ...more
Reminiscent of such diverse writers as Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G. Wells, and Philip K. Dick, Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson is an amazing piece of literary alchemy. Imagine, if you will, a reality where in 1912 Europe transforms into a strange land of nightmarish jungles and alien creatures. This so‑called Miracle is the centerpiece of this fascinating and truly different alternate history.

Young Guilford Law joins an expedition to explore this Darwinia. What they uncover shatters conception
There comes a time when you read a book (especially science fiction, but that is a discussion for a whole new entry) when a concept is totally new a fascinating, and this is one of them. I guess every genre suffers from the adage - there are no new stories, just ways of re-telling old ones - or something like that.

Anyway this book I will admit had one such idea - I cannot really explain it since practically the WHOLE book hinges around it, what I can say is that I didnt see it coming and in a s
Meris Bray
This came highly recommended, but my overall impression was "blah". It is well-written, I'll grant that, and the first half was just fine, but I spent the second half rolling my eyes so hard it's a surprise I actually managed to finish it. I don't usually have trouble suspending my disbelief, but this was just silly.
Sometimes an author's less well-known books can be the best ...

While I am a fan of Wilson's more popular, award-winning books (see, e.g., Spin ), I love his less-popular works, like Darwinia and Blind Lake , even more. I think Darwinia is one of Wilson's best. I know a lot of reviewers didn't appreciate it as much, though, and I think it's just a matter of whether this book clicks with you. This book clicked with me on different levels. I love books that force you to question the nature of rea
I enjoyed Spin and so when I saw this in the thrift store I bought it. It's been sitting on my shelves a long time. When I learned it qualified for a group challenge (Steampunk) I brought it out. Hope it's good!

Ok, it's not really steampunk. I mean, there's electricity and gas.

Well. The other reviewers said it better than I. Good adventure, well-written through about the first two thirds of the action, interesting characters, totally provocative premise. Was thinking I was liking it 4 stars. Las
Two pages of lame science fiction padded by lengthy carrying on by not-so-compelling characters. The premise, (and this doesn't spoil much) has potential: Europe suddenly vanishes and is replaced by a Europe analog from another world, with a whole new family tree of life to discover. But only a small handful of silly organisms are mentioned, most are unimaginative in their detail, and the rest are only mentioned by name.

I really get angry when I read awful "science fiction" like this that attemp
Gah. I loved the first half of this but it got too weird and convoluted and I sort of lost interest near the end. It was missing the great characters that Wilson does so well in his later novels, too. This won't stop me from jumping right into Blind Lake though.
Billy Roper
The previous reviews ALMOST scared me off, but I'm glad that I pulled up my pants and waded on when, in the middle, what I had picked up as a dystopian alternate reality yarn took a turn for the downright metaphysical on me. Yes, it does go supernatural halfway in, and requires a doubling of the suspension of disbelief, but I have noted this fault in current fiction readers: their imagination is limited in transmissional ability, able to shift only once before grinding gears. As an example, even ...more
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Jim Mcclanahan
This book provides a look at a titanic battle between inter-galactic forces of preservation and entropy. But, as is his custom, the author relates the tale of that struggle in very human terms and with very human characters. The main character, Guilford Law is the unwitting device of the forces of preservation, but must undergo a host of trials and tribulations to that end. Others are similarly intertwined; some with more awareness than others. Those that comprise the forces of chaos are sometim ...more
When choosing this book I was excited about such a great concept, of this other world plopped into Europe. The first half of the book was a quick read, then I hit the second half and it tore at my existence. I had such a hard time understanding what the author meant with the psilife, Archive, sentience stuff. When thinking about the book I knew the author had this grand scheme in his mind but it seemed he may have had trouble getting it out of his head coherently; or maybe I don't read nearly en ...more
Originally posted at:

Guilford Law was born two years shy of the turn of the century. He lives vicariously through the sciences and world-changing theories he reads about in magazines, imagining himself as part of a much larger and quantifiable 20th Century universe. Even when a strange light blasts the sky on his fourteenth birthday, Guilford isn’t charmed by the miraculous explanations made by others. Instead, he’s become so fascinated about unravelling
Overall, a pretty good book with a fantastic premise (one day in 1912 the continent of Europe and all its people disappears to be replaced with an alien landscape). I did have some issues with the structure - the big time gaps can be a bit jarring at times and I think revealing the explanation for Darwinia in an 'interlude' that basically consisted of a big block of exposition was a bit clumsy. I also think it would have worked better if the reveal could have been delayed until a bit later in th ...more
Antonio Urias
Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson is a novel of ideas, and what fascinating, vast, and engrossing ideas they are. The novel begins in 1912 with the Miracle, a night of portents and celestial lights that changes the face of the world forever. All of Europe is gone. Every country, every person, every animal, and every tree. And in their place is a brave new world of jungles and monsters, and lost cities, a world drawn from the imaginings of Edgar Rice Burroughs or H.G. Wells.

At a single stroke the
Vi este livro pela primeira vez num grupo de trocas, e o título atraiu-me. Li a sinopse e fiquei ainda com mais vontade de saber quão diferente era o século XX na visão de Robert Charles Wilson. Passaram-se alguns meses, mas «Darwinia» chegou finalmente à minha caixa de correio.

Li-o em dois tomos. A premissa foi sempre interessante, o rumo da história bem desenhado, as personagens bem construídas e as descrições espectaculares.

«Darwinia» foi uma das minhas primeiras experiências com Sci-Fi, que
Mark Smiley
I wanted to give this three and a half stars, possibly four.

The book starts out with Europe and another section of the world being transformed from its Earth appearance into that of another world. Strange creatures and plants, an entire biosphere is there.

That was enough to get me to buy this book from the Orem library sale. I enjoy tales of exploration and adventure. And adventure it has. Weird plants and circumstances, though not nearly enough beasts and encounters as I would like. Instead,
Amani Alshamsi
The title of the book I’m reading is called Darwinia by the writer Robert Charles Wilson. It’s started in 1912 when something happened to the earth. Somehow Europe and parts of Asia was gone transformed overnight, it was replaced by a jungle that nothing resemble it on the Earth. There were animals and bugs that were beyond scary, and deadly enough to kill anyone who was foolish to try to interact with them.

Guilford Law is a young man who was 14 when the world changed. In his 20’s he got an oppo
Bruno Di Giandomenico
The books starts with a cosmic event which changes Europe, and another Europe from a parallel world takes its place.
Guilford Law, is part of an expedition which wants to try to explore part of this new Europe, which is a wild expanse of land, a jungle with strange animals, not evolved on this Earth.
The expedition first step is in a new London, the Kitchener's Folly, as it is called, where the Britons who were lucky enough not to be in England at the time of the event, try to rebuild the nation a
It's a bit like "Heart of Darkness" but not. I mean, there are like gods living as people who died as soldiers in France back in WWII and, instead of an expedition in Africa, it is an expedition into western Europe, which one day miraculously turned into a jungle with strange plants and animals that kill people in really unpleasant ways. But there is a riverboat.
I wanted to give this book an average rating but then gave it a better one just because Wilson's above-average writing keeps some of his very average novels read as better ones which is very true here, too.

One fine morning all of Europe's population disappears along with every human creation leaving behind a continent with strange flora and fauna. As always, Wilson's premise is mind-bogglingly interesting but later as we begin to unravel the mystery, the book degenerates into a familiar and hac
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I've been writing science fiction professionally since my first novel A Hidden Place was published in 1986. My books include Darwinia, Blind Lake, and the Hugo Award-winning Spin. My newest novel is The Affinities (April 2015).
More about Robert Charles Wilson...
Spin (Spin, #1) Axis The Chronoliths Vortex Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America

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“I won't put my ignorance on an altar and call it God. It feels like idolatry, like the worst kind of idolatry.” 15 likes
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