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Burning Paradise

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  803 ratings  ·  128 reviews
From Robert Charles Wilson, the authorof the Hugo-winning Spin, comes Burning Paradise, a new tale of humans coming to grips with a universe of implacable strangeness.

Cassie Klyne,nineteen years old, lives in the United States in the year 2015—but it’s not our United States, and it’s not our 2015.

Cassie’s world has been at peace since the Great Armistice of 1918. There was
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Tor Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,264)
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Terrific story that blends a plot of alternate history, dystopia, alien invasion, mystery, horror, and thriller, along with a satisfying level of character development.

The world here has been in a position of 100 years of relative peace since the Great War. We learn from the start than an alien consciousness residing in a “hypercolony” cloud in the outer atmosphere has long been at work manipulating human radio communications in a subtle way that favors peaceful outcomes in conflicts. We also q
Grady McCallie
Burning Paradise reads as a sort of cross between Invasion of the Body Snatchers and a Robert Ludlum thriller - shallow plot, constant action, and a high body count. It falls into a sub-genre of scientific horror - in contrast to metaphysical horror, in which eldritch or occult forces threaten to destroy the main characters, here it is the Darwinian, implacable universe, against which human dreams and feelings are meaningless. Relatively early in the book, one character muses: "there was no inte ...more
Jeff Raymond
A lot of times, we read science fiction for the escapism aspect or the cool futurist ideas, or even just as a reflection on current society. It's a much more simple exchange for me, where I enjoy science fiction more for the ideas and worldbuilding than I do for a specific message. When a book that has something to say comes along while also filling in a lot of those gaps for me, all the better. Robert Charles Wilson is probably best known for his modern sci-fi classic Spin, but I became a big f ...more
aPriL eVoLvEs
The best thing about this alternative 2014 Earth is that the American Thanksgiving holiday has been retired! Instead, after Armistice Day, next up is Christmas! Hooray!

The worst thing about the society created in this alternative history is there is no worst thing. Well, as long as people don't care about the mass assassinations of certain nosy scholars and their entire families, children included, back in 2007, which they don't, so everything is good to go. There had been no more wars after WWI
It is hard to believe that this is by the author of the fantastic Spin saga. It is full of action yet is monotonous and feels like it was written as a movie. Ideas and information are repeated frequently as if Wilson thought we wouldn't remember from chapter to chapter. The alien threat is interesting but not well thought out. It is able to edit Earth's radio and television broadcasts to keep us peaceful but the "experts" in the story keep insisting that it has no real intelligence. How, then, d ...more
This book has been getting positive reviews in the scifi community, so I talked the book group into reading it. I've read a fair number of Wilson's works and more often than not, enjoyed them.

The basis of Burning Paradise explores the relationship between humanity and the radiosphere, where there exists an organism which is subtly tweaking and altering humanity's behavior. The Correspondence Society is the remnant of a group of people attacked by this 'organism' in 2007 when it became apparent t
Wayne Ren-Cheng
Hello to all,

Giving this book a rating of 2 results from the ending . . . or lack of one. For more than 300 pages I would've given the book a 3 at least until I realized there was twenty or so pages left for tying up the loose ends. This is not new to my contemporary reading experience, a conclusion that seems rushed and trite.

A tale of alien entities, simulacrums that bleed green, outside control of the human race, and a wide range of human personalities and goals that ends with an explosion an
Alternate history scifi about a subtle alien organism surrounding the earth and nudging the course of history towards peace for its own ends.

Bafflement. Robert Charles Wilson, what happened to you? How did the guy who wrote Spin phone in something so shallow and pointless? This is a fertile concept – humans confronting the idea that prosperity and peace are artificially imposed from without, and having to decide what to do about it. You could really go places with that. This book utterly fails t
Maggie K
I had previously read WIlson's Spin and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to this until I saw a couple bad reviews...but I went ahead and read it anyway, and I am so glad I did!
The context of this story is that the radio-something layer around the earth is actually a parasitic alien being that has infiltrated our media...What a cool idea that is!
A parasite has infected the alien, and now there is a little bit of a battle going on, and the communications grid of humanity is at stake....
Giulio Prisco
I don’t think Burning Paradise is Wilson’s best book, but Wilson’s second best is still exceptionally good science fiction, and I warmly recommend this book. More than any other living author, Wilson is able to conjure breathtaking stories of real people in a vast and strange universe.

To me, the most interesting aspect of Burning Paradise is the totally alien intelligence of the hypercolony, reminiscent of the living ocean in Solaris and the microbot swarm intelligence in The Invincible (both by
A colony of living space debris surrounds the Earth and effects our daily events by manipulating radio transmissions. This debris can also assimilate into a human form, and does so for several nefarious reasons. Saying more would give away to much. This book does stand as a testament as to why the 2013 book awards should be held at the beginning of 2014. I feel this would be a strong contender for best sci-fi. However the voting is almost done now. The good news is that sci-fi fans have a great ...more
Bruce Baugh
Robert Charles Wilson has a habit of writing books that create whole new sub-genres in my mind, shaping the mental channels that thoughts will keep flowing down. This is another of them. It's set in an alternate history that hasn't had a major conflict since the short-lived Great War of 1914. The back cover and early chapters announce that this is because aliens have been manipulating our communications since the beginning of the 20th century. But that's just where the story starts. We follow va ...more
Shonna Froebel
This novel takes the reader from Buffalo, New York down to the Atacama desert in Chile. This is in our world, but different. A world where history diverted from ours in the early twentieth century.
As the book begins, it is November 2014, and the world is about to celebrate one its most widely celebrated holidays, Armistice Day. It is a hundred years since the Armistice was signed at the end of the Great War, and the world has been relatively peaceful ever since, with a gradual growth in prosperi
Andy Shuping
ARC provided by NetGalley

It's the year 2015 and Cassie Klyne is nineteen years old and lives in the United States. But this is not the United States that we know....or even the world we know. There has been peace since the Armistice of 1918, poverty is declining, prosperity is increasing, and things in the world look up.'s all a lie. Back at the dawn of radio communications a small group discovered that progress has been interfered with, and humans have been made more peaceful and benig
Robert August
Robert Charles Wilson is an author I’ve always enjoyed for the mysterious other-worldly feeling he brings to a story, and for his intense character-focused prose. So when Burning Paradise came out, it immediately jumped unto my reading list. I am happy to report that this novel measured up to expectations in both feeling and prose. It is an alternate reality story told from the point of view of several different characters. In this alternate reality the world has lived in a peaceful utopia since ...more
So it turns out that aliens have been keeping the peace on Earth for the last century, but humans don't know that. However, there is a small group of people who have figured it out due to the results that came back from some research. The aliens want to keep them quiet by killing those who know the truth and they do this by taking over by disguising themselves in human bodies.
A group of kids- who have been taught what to do in the instance aliens try to kill them- flee their homes in
Alex Telander
From the Hugo award winner of Spin and author of Julian Comstock comes his thrilling new novel, Burning Paradise. The year is 2015 and Cassie Klyne lives in a United States that is not ours, in a time different from our own. The world has been at peace since the Great Armistice of 1918, there was no World War II or Great Depression, and it seems like Earth is a pretty decent place.

But Cassie is the daughter of parents who were part of a special group that has been studying the facts and asking q
Timothy Ward
I didn't know what to expect with this story as far as plot and tone, but I was interested in the premise of a world where aliens rule in secret and have kept humans (in our time) from world war for over a hundred years. I was surprisingly impressed with the YA feel to one of the character storylines. A late-teen girl is on the run with her young brother and two other teenagers after she sees a guy stalking her get killed and leak green blood onto the street. I really enjoyed her story and evolu ...more
As similar as the reality in Robert Charles Wilson’s new novel Burning Paradise may seem to ours, it’s actually very different. The world is preparing to celebrate a Century of Peace since the 1914 Armistice that ended the Great War. There was no Great Depression or World War II, and segregation in the US was abolished in the 1930s. The world has become a little safer and wealthier every day.

Most of humanity is unaware that the seemingly benign changes that led to all of this are actually the re
Liz Wilkins
Coming November 5th from Macmillan – Tor/Forge

Thank you to the author and publisher for the copy of this book for review via netgalley.

Cassie Klyne, nineteen years old, lives in the United States in the year 2015—but it’s not our United States, and it’s not our 2015.

An intriguing concept I was looking forward to this one – I admittedly have not read this author before so I wouldnt like to say how it compares to previous novels however I very much enjoyed it.

Cassie has knowledge that others do no
Pete Schoerr
All the elements are there for a really interesting read. The concept of a parasitic, quasi-benevolent alien intelligence living in the radiosphere and subtly altering human history sounded a winner.
I listened to the audiobook (read by Scott Brick) and his flat delivery really didn't help a book that starts out intriguingly and then limps along to an apparently underwhelming conclusion. I say that because i persisted for about 80% of the book before giving up, reviews by others here confirmed i
Fantasy Literature
Members of the Correspondence Society have discovered an extra-terrestrial entity, which they refer to as the “Hypercolony,” in the atmosphere. The Hypercolony secretly monitors and subtly alters terrestrial transmissions in order to maintain peace on Earth. A few skirmishes aside, they have been successful, and humanity is once again celebrating the anniversary of the 1914 Armistice Day.

Earth may be a paradise, but it would be a mistake to consider the Hypercolony a benevolent entity. Its algor
Very haunting book about the world being secretly directed by a hypercolony. They function kind of like insects, but live through radio waves. They have taken over Earth's mass communications and, by so doing, have guided Earth for the last several decades into peace (so that Earth will continue to advance their technology into space and they can parachute onto that and spread further). They are ruthless in their extermination of the few scientists who start to suspect what is going on, leading ...more
Disappointing novel from RC Wilson (author of the Spin trilogy or of Julian Comstock); the writing style that made the author such a favorite is still there - narrative flow, page turner - but the storyline and characters fell flat; never could suspend disbelief about the main conceit of the novel with the alive radio-sphere and its sims, while the characters lacked any of the subtlety from earlier books and the twists were seen from a long way

the book basically turned into one man and one girl
Two stars. I was underwhelmed. I couldn’t connect to the characters or the story, either. I agree with another reviewer, reading the Fisherman and the Spider would have been more intriguing.

I wish I were more actively engaged with this story. There are so many interesting story arcs that could have been explored in-depth.

***Spoiler ahead***

For example, I want to know more about how Leo was able to think for himself as a Sim since as an entity the Sim is a collective where there is no individu
Bob Milne
I was excited about this, and really wanted to like it, but it just fell flat for me. The characters were bland and simplistic, almost like they sidestepped not from another time/universe, but from another genre altogether. Even though it's been done before, the whole question of whether aliens are interfering to save us or doom us is one I usually enjoy, but I didn't feel this added anything new or unique to the theme. As for the writing itself, it was average - not nearly as smart or as polish ...more
Carly Svamvour
I enjoyed this one immensely.

Thanks to all for describing this novel so well.

I gave this a 5 on my rating. I don't write reviews - just
don't have the hang of it yet ... and am not in any hurry
to develop it - who the hell gets paid for it anymore,
anyway? Since we started providing our writing skills
for free on the internet, nobody needs to hire.

I'll just read through the descriptions here and comment
as I go along:

I like the hive aspect of the hive-mind ... its the most
interesting thing about the
Jan 25, 2015 Alan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gypsies
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work
2014 was an idyllic year. A full century ago, the great nations of the world settled their differences—they signed the Armistice that ended the Great War, created the League of Nations, and spelled an end to all wars on Earth. Sure, there are still occasional border incursions, shouts and sabre-rattling, feints and forays... but ever since 1914, not one of those conflicts has escalated to full-scale combat. A centennial of peace on Earth—surely that's cause enough for worldwide celebration.

Wilson's most recent novel begins in November 2014, the month I read it and am writing this. As the flyleaf says: "Cassie Iverson, eighteen years old, lives in the United States in the year 2014 - but it's not our United States and it's not our 2014. Cassie's world has been more or less at peace since the Great Armistice of 1914. There was no World War II, no Great Depression. ... But Cassie knows the world isn't what it seems."

Cassie's world is now celebrating the centenary of the great peace.
Russell Atkinson
Wilson writes well and the book held my interest all the way through. I was at first put off by the implausible alternative history premise. The basic idea is that in this 2014 Earth the radio-reflective layer is alive and intelligent; it keeps humans from yet another world war by altering the signals it receives and reflects to manipulate human behavior. The science part of science fiction didn't really apply, but as fiction goes, it was imaginative and mostly entertaining. The book appears to ...more
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Did I Miss Something? (Spoilers) 1 6 Dec 14, 2014 09:16PM  
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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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