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The Man Who Fell to Earth
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The Man Who Fell to Earth

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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  1,937 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Thomas Jerome Newton is an extraterrestrial from the planet Anthea, which has been devastated by a series of nuclear wars, and whose inhabitants are twice as intelligent as human beings. When he lands on Earth - in Kentucky, disguised as a human - it's with the intention of saving his own people from extinction.
Paperback, 186 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1963)
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Sarah
Brilliant. This a deceptively simple story, told in simple, uncomplicated prose, but with unexpected depth and relevance. It might come off as slightly trite now, as with most mid-20th century fiction set in "the near future" (the late 1980s, of all things!), but I'm sure in 1963 it was truly a sign of the times. What I'm sure hasn't lost its charge over the years is the tint of sadness, of individualized despair, that permeates the book and ultimately embitters the characters. No one escapes th ...more
Maureen
no ray guns are fired or space battles waged in this poignant novel. there is a spaceship yes, but it is incapacitated after it deposits its passenger on earth. the passenger is an alien from a dying planet named anthea and he's looking for an escape - a place for the remnants of his people. his name on earth will be t.j. newton (sometimes called tommy) and this novel is his story, of how our world affects him, physically and emotionally, as he tries to achieve his mission.

there's not much more
...more
Jodi Lu
I had nearly forgotten why people start reading in the first place: the joy of an honest story. I'm so used to the writer as the essential protagonist, the writing as his conflict, and whether or not I want to throw away his book as his comedic or tragic end. But this just unfolds cleanly, without seeming consciously written at all. Never an "ohhh that was beautiful" and very rarely a distracting wince. I got deeply engaged without any self-discipline at all.
It's lightening-quick and so satisfy
...more
Stephen
3.5 to 4.0 stars. I really struggled between giving this 3 or 4 stars and settled closer to 4 for one primary reason: the ending of the story was deeply emotional and I believe will stay with me for some time. Apart from the excellent ending, the rest of the story was well-written, moved along at a good pace and kept me interested.
Erik Graff
Mar 24, 2010 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sf fans, those interested in the Bowie movie
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Picked this one up somewhere in Edison Park, Chicago, my home in Park Ridge being right across Canfield/Ozanam from the city limits. Read it on the same day I, rarely satisfied under our household's strict food regimen, bought my first real food, a can of black olives.

The Man Who Fell to Earth was one of the saddest books I'd ever read at the time. Its protagonist's good intentions towards us, the extremity under which his own species had found itself and his great loneliness were all very movin
...more
Giuseppe
Questo libro va letto. Va letto per una serie di motivi che sono questi:

1)L'idea L'autore, grazie all'espediente sci-fi dell'alieno che sbarca segretamente sul nostro pianeta, ci permette di avere un punto di vista "laterale", rispetto al mondo civilizzato che ci circonda: scienza, società, politica. Rielabora efficientemente il concetto di alienazione nella società post-moderna e post-industriale.

2)Lo stile Uno stile asciutto, essenziale nel descrivere pensieri e rapporti dei personaggi, ma non
...more
Daniel Gonçalves
Aug 26, 2013 Daniel Gonçalves rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every fan of literature
It is not often that you find a great book. A book that makes you feel pride after you've read it. This was one of those books.

Writen in 1963, the man who fell to earth is considered a sci-fi classic, although the book is far from being restricted to a specific genre because it tackles a lot of different subjects.

The prose is fluid and it feels natural to read . Walter Travis is clearly a writer with huge story telling abilities which lead me, at times, to think that I was reading Stephen King N
...more
Bryce Wilson
The literary equivilant of a flower growing through a block of cement. The characterization is clumsy, obvious and in the case of the gin soaked country woman straight out of "Lady For A Day" borders on self parody. The social commentary is sometimes bizarre such as when our alien friend ruminates on the pros and cons of The Welfare State and sometimes obvious with it's JESUS WAS TEH ALIEN subtext. And lordy if you don't think that a book as slight as 160 pages can be overwritten within an inch ...more
Raegan Butcher
Apr 18, 2008 Raegan Butcher rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aliens and drunks or drunk aliens
Simply fantastic. This is one of the most heartbreaking novels written in the past 50 years.
Laura
From BBC Radio 4 - Afternoon Drama:
In the early hours of Sunday 9th September 2012, a young black man fell out of the sky and landed, dead, on a residential street in Barnes. The man had been a stowaway. Through three fictional residents in the street where the body landed, Annalisa D'Innella 's first radio play mixes fact with fiction to explore the experience of being British and middle class.

It's a play about greed, grief, courage, utopias and magical thinking - as well as our universal tende
...more
Bandit
I've discovered this book completely by chance (having heard of the film but never seen it) and absolutely fell in love with it. Often the book or a movie are being referred to as classic and it has to do more with their age than their contents, this book however is a fine example of a real scifi classic, one that teaches us something about ourselves through a different perspective. If there were no dates in the book at all (dates that might have seemed like a future back when the novel was writ ...more
Carole Morin

Every rock star has a movie role in him. Mick Jagger's was Performance. David Bowie's The Man Who Fell to Earth. If Performance was the final death knell of an era of peace and love and the beginning of a decade of violence and nihilism, The Man Who Fell to Earth was, like Bowie, a reflection of its times from a mirror that's one step ahead. As Tommy Newton says, 'I want to...but not enough.'

If some readers come to Walter Tevis via the Nic Roeg movie that can only be a good thing. Three of Tevis
...more
Joanna
On the outside, The Man Who Fell to Earth is about Thomas Jerome Newton, an alien from the planet Anthea, who has come to Earth seeking salvation for the last of his people but it's really about being alone inside your own skin and struggling to feel connected to anyone or anything before you die.

Walter Tevis takes a subject that has been overdone, ooh a spaceship and an alien EXCITING!, and makes his own unique brand of sociopolitical science fiction. The lyrical descriptions mesh well with the
...more
Robert
Originally published in 1963, the author made reference to the Watergate scandal...

-did you know that Watergate changed nothing...the President uses us, in the CIA, to spy on the other party?

...so the author obviously revised this work sometime between 1974 and his death in 1984. Written somewhat dryly.
Brian
Dec 30, 2008 Brian rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who finds alcoholics fascinating
Shelves: science-fiction
The problem with this book is that author must have thought that the only way to make a person seem deep is to make them an alcoholic--alcoholism defines all three main characters in the book. It's like an actor who finally wins an academy award after playing a drunk (when it is probably the easiest part to play). The vast majority of interactions in the book include drinking, which Tevis describes in painstaking detail, over and over again--what they are drinking, how they are drinking it, what ...more
Arwen56
L'uomo che cadde sulla Terra, di Walter Tevis, in Italia è stato pubblicato per la prima volta nel lontano 1964 su Urania, la collana della Mondadori cui è indissolubilmente legata la diffusione del genere fantascientifico nel nostro paese, e riproposto nel 1976, ovvero l’anno in cui uscì nelle sale la trasposizione cinematografica del romanzo, ottimamente interpretata da David Bowie. Conservo ancora il volumetto in questione, poiché fu il primo di una nuova serie, denominata “Serie Argento”. Co ...more
Lorenzo Berardi

As a non native English speaker, I discovered the adjective 'poignant' only six years ago thanks to a Canadian friend (thanks, Vicky). She chose it to comment a photo I took involving a bowler hat hanging from a chair while an out of focus blonde girl in the background stood on her toes to take off a branch of autumn leaves from the frame of a mirror over a washbasin.
To be honest with you, the photo was nothing special. Perhaps my friend was ironic. Or maybe not.

What I know is that from that day
...more
Frances
I love this book. I wish the edition were not so glossy and ugly. The one I read was packaged with the film in the Criterion Collection set. Still haven't gotten around to watching the movie (I know! David Bowie! What am I waiting for?).

for real, read this.
Alexis Peixoto
O mais triste, arrebatador e tocante romance de ficção científica que já li. Cinco estrelas é pouco.
Saretta
Stephen Curran
Ostensibly an Earth bound SF novel about an extraterrestrial visitor, this is a profoundly human story about isolation, desperation, and failure.

Although I'm guessing Walter Tevis drew some inspiration from Odd John by Olaf Stapledon (the alienated protagonists of both tales share some physical similarities and work to amass substantial fortunes through patenting) this is a vastly superior work.

Since reading The Man Who Fell to Earth I have discovered that in retrospect Tevis saw it as a disguis
...more
Je
"Non so perché non sia ancora successo. Non so perché non ci siamo ancora ubriacati fino alla morte. O amati fino alla morte."
Tevis attraverso il personaggio di Newton mi ha turbata, Bryce rappresenta l'umanità che può essere salvata e viene lasciato così, senza speranze. Una parte di umanità condannata dalla stupidità dell'altra metà. E poi, davanti alla realtà, anche il salvatore perde le speranze.
Mi aspettavo un finale un po' più tragico o almeno più glorioso, ma in fondo la condizione in cu
...more
Christian Schwoerke
I read this novel as a young teen in 1968, bought a copy of it in the early 80s, and then finally read it again, last month (October 2014). A strange encounter with a young man on a train in 2012 prompted me to read his novel Mockingbird and to re-read The Queen's Gambit, which I did before re-reading The Man Who Fell to Earth. Of the three, the most smoothly written is The Queen's Gambit, but the other two novels are permeated with a despair (and implicit hope) that is almost intoxicating. In b ...more
Stanley Trice

This book is about an alien, Thomas Jerome Newton, who comes from a planet in our solar system called Anthea. At one time, Anthea had three intelligent life forms who, through war, destroyed their fragile planet and themselves. Newton has come to Earth on the last remaining spaceship in the hopes of building a rocket to go back to Anthea and save the three hundred Antheans left. By saving Antheans, he also hopes to save humanity from the same destruction.

Before coming to Earth, Newton learns alm
...more
Surymae
Avevo letto "L'uomo che cadde sulla Terra" qualche anno fa, e mi aveva lasciato un'ottima impressione. Quando però ci ho ripensato più approfonditamente, mi sono resa conto che tale sensazione si basava sul nulla. Non ricordavo assolutamente niente di quello che avevo letto, a parte il nome del protagonista ed una scena - e nemmeno in maniera molto accurata.

Urgeva una rilettura. E per fortuna ha dato risultati positivi.
Ho (ri)scoperto il personaggio di Newton, drammaticamente solo e carismatic
...more
Julie
Mar 14, 2014 Julie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: Brion
This was an interesting read, assigned by my brother. I suspect he got into it after reading a Bowie biography.

It's a story about an alien sent to Earth to pass as human while working on an important mission.... the story behind his planet and his mission gets revealed a little at a time, so I won't spoil it here.

I definitely think the events in this book are more plausible set in the '80s as today this guy would have a) set off a zillion red flags with the FBI, CIA and NSA even faster, and b) b
...more
David Harris
Written in 1963, this book combines the best of sci-fi with a good storytelling component that is sometimes missing from sci-fi. Plus it's less than 200 pages which, in my experience, usually makes a book better.

Another nice thing about the book is that it reflects the mindset of the early 1960s very well with descriptions of the real fear at that time that the human race was going to end up destroying itself with nuclear weapons.

There were some references to demonstrations on college campuses,
...more
Rob
There's a moment well into this 1963 science fiction novel when Walter Tevis mentions Watergate… Say what? A little bit of looking into the matter turns up the astonishing - and rather dispiriting - fact that Tevis revised his novel in 1981, 5 years after Nic Roeg's indelible 1976 filming of it. And this is the only version of it that is sold now. John Fowles did something similar with The Magus, claiming that he was righting the wrong of his earlier timidity. Here, Tevis tacks on a few years (t ...more
Cecily
Stunning and refreshing. Having already seen the movie (fantastic, by the way) I was expecting rather a boring read considering I already knew the story. Tevis, however, surprises; the writing aesthetic is absolutely gorgeous without being pretentious... and the character development is quite beautiful; rarely do I feel for, hope for, a character as much I do Newton. Definitely something to read if you like a lot of substance and thought in your fiction, even if you've see the movie--rather, esp ...more
Francesca
Bellissimo, triste ed emozionante fino all’ultima pagina. Fa parte di quel genere di fantascienza che più amo, intriso di una sottile malinconia ed amarezza, percorso da domande esistenziali implicite (cosa è davvero umano e cosa alieno? esiste un’accettazione profonda con ciò che riteniamo diverso da noi? l’umanità punta solo al potere, a prescindere alla propria possibile autodistruzione, oppure è disposta ad essere “salvata”?).
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Walter Stone Tevis was an American novelist and short story writer. Three of his six novels were adapted into major films: The Hustler, The Color of Money and The Man Who Fell to Earth. His books have been translated into at least 18 languages.
More about Walter Tevis...
Mockingbird The Queen's Gambit The Hustler The Color of Money Steps of the Sun

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