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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  10 reviews
The Hugo- & Nebula-nominated novella “Death & Designation Among the Asadi” (Worlds of If, '73) forms the 1st part of Transfigurations, a novel published in 1979 by Berkley Putnam. The story continues when the daughter of the anthropologist who studied the Asadi, a hominid-like race on the planet Bosk’veld, investigates his disappearance. In the journal Foundation, ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published December 1st 1980 by Berkley (first published 1979)
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Xenological science fiction, a sub-genre of SF that generally appeals to me. And the premise sounded interesting.

An alien species (much like terrestrial apes) are discovered on a planet and appear to have degenerated into a barbaric state and exhibit bizarre and inscrutable behaviour. After an anthropologist attempts to live among them and bares witness to strange rituals he ends up abandoning the human camp and disappears among them forever. Years later his estranged daughter arrives determined
I only learned that this novel is the extension of a prior novel after I was half way through it. I would say this explains a lot.

The first part was really interesting, well written and full of suspense and mystery. The more I read through it, the more I wanted and I was really interested in learning how the story would unfold after Elegy's arrival on Bosk Veld.
The second part however was weaker in comparison. Even though the suspense was not missing and the explanations offered on the past of
The novel is based on an excellent novella, Death and Designation among the Asadi, a runner-up for the 1973 Hugo Award, narrowly beaten out by Gene Wolfe’s The Death of Doctor Island. It’s anthropological sf, a strange sort of sub-niche. The mc goes on a journey to an alien planet and lives among the inhabitants in an effort to understand them and identifies a little too closely with them (they are humanoid but definitely alien). The novel resolves some of the unanswered questions left by the no ...more
Ilyhana Kennedy
Possibly deserves three and a half stars.
Reading Transfigurations was quite a divergence for me. I've never really been into sci-fi, so am hardly a good judge. I very nearly put this one down several times. It gets pretty gross.
The author has an incredible imagination, weaves a highly complex story from enough 'science' to befuddle the reader into some kind of credulity.
It's a thriller mystery of sorts and this element works to keep the pages turning.
I found the character depictions lacked some
I enjoyed the beginning, which was genuinely creepy. However, I found the characters became a bit silly and non-realistic as the book progressed and certainly weren't like any scientists I know. Some parts of the book are a bit dated, especially the scientific theories discussed and all this left-brain right-brain nonsense. I was also annoyed by the scientific impossibility of some parts of the book. It's ok to bend the scientific rules a bit in SF, but the impossibility of the photosynthesis ex ...more
Edward Davies
Although an interesting book with a fascinating conceit, I couldn’t help being distracted by the character of Elegy (appropriately named due to her involvements towards the end of the book) who, intentionally or not, comes across as a huge slut. Her sexual relationship with the narrator seems to come out of nowhere, and then she has sex with someone as well. That aside, this story which features some pretty obvious links with the Bible story concerning the Transfiguration of Jesus, manages to be ...more
Jeffrey Engel
Predictable in today's age, however when it was written it was a newer concept.
Erik Graff
Jan 19, 2009 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bishop fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Another Science Fiction Bookclub edition, purchased and read just prior to suddenly and impulsively enrolling in Loyola University Chicago's MA/PhD program in philosophy as an antidote to too much novel reading.

This one is pretty good though.
Thom Dunn
Reprints Death and Transfiguration Among the Asadi (a novella) with extensions.
Really creepy weird alien aliens.
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SF Masterworks Group: Transfigurations by Michael Bishop 1 3 Jul 19, 2013 05:36AM  
  • R.U.R. & War with the Newts
  • Half Past Human
  • Floating Worlds
  • Unquenchable Fire (Unquenchable Fire, #1)
  • The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe
  • Of Men and Monsters
  • Engine Summer
  • Take Back Plenty (Tabitha Jute, #1)
  • This Is the Way the World Ends
  • Odd John
  • Drowning Towers
  • Arslan
  • The Affirmation
  • Iceworld
  • Dark Benediction
  • Earthman, Come Home (Cities in Flight, #3)
  • Life During Wartime
  • Helliconia Winter (Helliconia, #3)
Michael Lawson Bishop is an award-winning American writer. Over four decades & thirty books, he has created a body of work that stands among the most admired in modern sf & fantasy literature.

Bishop received a bachelor's from the Univ. of Georgia in 1967, going on to complete a master's in English. He taught English at the US Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs from 1
More about Michael Bishop...
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