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Why Do Birds
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Why Do Birds

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  61 ratings  ·  11 reviews
It is the early 21st century, and Ed Stone says he's been in suspended animation since the 1930s--put there by aliens who have sent him on a mission: convince the nations of the world to build a massive vault, in which humanity's billions will lie in suspension and survive the Earth's impending destruction. And, the strangest thing of all is everybody believes him.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 1st 1994 by Orb Books (first published 1992)
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Ed Stone claims to be from the past. As he says in the second sentence of the novel, "I think I was kidnapped from nineteen thirty-one and brought here [2002], and I think the aliens sent me back to put the whole human race in a box." He is willing to accept that he may be crazy, but his clothing and fillings are period-appropriate, and he carries with him a seemingly-brand-new copy of Astounding Stories from 1931 (which has an odd role to play in the story as meta-commentary). He also wears a r ...more
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This book was a profound pleasure. I've been reading heaps of contemporary stuff that blather on and on filling page after page with fatty vacuous prose.

The writing here is so crisp and subtle. Very easy to read-- most of it is dialogue. And what an ear for dialogue Knight has-- the characterization and dramatic tension that he accomplishes with simple conversations is marvelous.

The plot is a page turner until the very end. maybe the end isn't what you wanted to have happen, maybe it's abrupt,
Jeremy Lyon
What I most enjoyed in this book was the sheer chutzpah of the main character, who with the help of an alien artifact sets out to build a cube big enough to hold the entire human race, and then convince everyone to get into it.

Damon Knight spends just the right amount of time considering the engineering and logistical challenges of such an undertaking. It's something of an enjoyable challenge to imagine how one would go about it.

His characters are entertaining and believable, but the plot seems
Zachary Jernigan
OBJECTIVE RATING (my best stab at looking at the book's merits, regardless of whether or not I enjoyed it all that much): 4

PERSONAL RATING (how much the book "worked" for me personally): 5

I've read a lot of Damon Knight, and this is without a doubt -- no, no argument! -- his most enjoyable work. An absolute charmer of a book, with an absolute charmer of a protagonist, Why Do Birds is also marked by one of the best (and most abruptly concise) endings in the history of science fiction. Humorous bu
Fábio Fernandes
I was looking for this book since it was published, but I had no Internet then (circa 1993) and if I wanted to read it I would have to import it. (An acquaintance of mine had done it, and he wouldn't borrow the book.) It just went digital a while ago; I bought it now - and I'm not disappointed.

Damon Knight was a master of the trade. He could not only write good science fiction; he could write good fiction, period. He could also make you laugh. He could create the most implausible situations and
I probably would have given it 3.5 stars if I could. It was entertaining, and the ending isn't "typical", but as another reviewer mentioned, it seems like it should have been quite a bit longer. I never got the chance to connect with any of the characters, which is a big minus.
An interesting premise, but it feels like this book should be twice as long - so much is left unsaid and unresolved.
Rose East
I liked it, especially the end, which was uncompromising.
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Damon Francis Knight was an American science fiction author, editor, and critic.
Knight's first professional sale was a cartoon drawing to a science-fiction magazine, Amazing Stories. His first story, "Resilience", was published in 1941. He is best known as the author of "To Serve Man", which was adapted for The Twilight Zone. He was a recipient of the Hugo Award, founder of the Science Fiction and
More about Damon Knight...
Creating Short Fiction: The Classic Guide to Writing Short Fiction To Serve Man The Best of Damon Knight A for Anything The Man in the Tree

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