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The Visitor

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  1,528 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
The "magic" that once was America died horribly along with most of the Earth's inhabitants when an asteroid crashed into the planet sometime during the twenty-first century. Hundreds of years have passed, and all that remains of the time before are fragmented memories distorted by superstition -- as a tragically reduced populace suffers greatly under the tyranny of a repre ...more
ebook, 512 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,289)
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Certainly this book had flaws all along. There are things that don't quite make sense, and a construction Tepper is fond of using at the end of chapters really annoyed me once I noticed it. However, the world-building is rich and the plot interesting, and I was enjoying the book reasonably until the last 100 pages, when she decided to ruin it by throwing every lame and lousy writing tactic available: a sprawling, poorly-written anti-religious diatribe (for those really dense readers who hadn't n ...more
Althea Ann
Mar 06, 2013 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Throughout most of this book, I thought it was great.
The milieu is an innovative and effective blend of post-apocalypse, straight-out horror, and science fiction. It's a complicated world, and Tepper does an amazing job of showing-not-telling, revealing elements of the situation she's created gradually...
The protagonist, Disme, is shown to progress from her repressed situation where she is terrorized by her stepmother and her even-worse stepsister, gradually finding the ability to express her id
Michael Battaglia
Oh thank goodness, she remembered how to write a story. Or at least ninety-eight percent of one.

Most of my problems with Tepper stories hasn't had anything to do with the writing or the world-building, both of which seems to be her strengths, but her tendency to ram social commentary down our throats like paramedics in a race to see who can intubate the fastest. When that side of her writing personality comes to the fore, you tend to get characters who exist merely to make certain points and sce
Oct 19, 2014 Brandy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really really enjoyed the first two thirds of this book, until I got to the science/religion lecture. She goes from a message underlying the book, to beating the reader over the head with said message. The ending just falls apart.

I have only read one other book by Tepper which I enjoyed quite a bit. I really love the world building and the characters she develops. They have a definitely unique flavor to them. There is also some just beautifully written description, especially near the beginni
Jan 03, 2014 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I wish I could have given The Visitor more than 2 stars since Sheri Tepper has written one of my favorite books, The Gate to Women's Country. Over the years I have read a few of Ms. Tepper’s novels and have enjoyed them and I wish I could say the same for The Visitor. This story stars out a tad slow but gains momentum and is a good read until three quarters through the novel then I got confused and lost. This is a post-apocalyptic story, usually one of my favorite genres, and the world she descr ...more
Oct 11, 2016 kari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Few years back, this book would give me a "every important word has already been written, we can all go home now" reaction - the setting is so disturbing, so plausible, so terrifying in the way I could see it happen, our ideas and ideologies twisted nearly beyond recognition. But by the ending, it turned both tedious and blunt. And Disme. I couldn't stand how her curious, gentle, clever self was forced by the author into passiveness and reliance on others. I can imagine, though, how this is supp ...more
Jul 24, 2016 Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been a long time fan of Sheri Tepper's writing. This was one of my favs. I dogeared pages that are right on for this election cycle, and have quoted her on FB. She brings a great story to our human condition, over and over again. I tried to find her web page to no avail. I wanted to write a fan letter to a woman whose writing I have read for decades. Thank you, Sheri, for all the great books you've written, books with humanistic and feminist backbones, as well as a lot of wisdom for what we ...more
Courtney Skelton
The Visitor started out rather slow. It seemed like it was going nowhere, and then almost seemed to stop. I almost stopped reading it. Then it got better. And keep getting better. Then, it was moving at an incredible pace, to where I had to keep going. It felt like a being on a treadmill, and without realizing that the speed had been turned up. Yes, I could have jumped off at any point, yet I at first just stayed on as I wanted to see where this ended up. That ultimately changed to-I had to know ...more
Mar 30, 2013 Zora rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A frustrating read, and had it not been the last book of a stack from the library, I wouldn't have finished it. Plot: it's 1000 years from now, and humanity has survived, barely, a gigantic asteroid impact. Three POV characters predominate: a scientist in our time via her diary, a young girl in the low-tech recovered world, and a Bad Guy. The main problem is, none of them are characters I wished to read about. The scientist is a wimpy woman married to a man who is at first a lazy loser and later ...more
Jul 08, 2008 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No one would ever be able to say that Tepper is apolitical. No, she takes on politics, and she takes on the worst of the politics...and makes them worse!
That's always enjoyable. Hey, it's one of the things that we can do in science fiction!
In The Visitor, Tepper's typical story line of science fiction setting with a mystery that drives the action becomes an inquiry into what happens when a theocracy rules a small section of the world. It's a post apocalyptic world this time, and whew are these
The "magic" that once was America died horribly along with most of the Earth's inhabitants when an asteroid crashed into the planet sometime during the twenty-first century. Hundreds of years have passed, and all that remains of the time before are fragmented memories distorted by superstition -- as a tragically reduced populace suffers greatly under the tyranny of a repressive ruling order. But destiny has chosen Dismé Latimer to lead a wasted world out of the darkness...with a book. Written by ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul  Perry
Oct 06, 2010 Paul Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Tepper really is a wonderful writer - her books are intelligent, inventive, superbly plotted and littered with prose that leaves te reader breathless.Her major strain of work is science fiction with the technology in the background and an emphasis on social and personal relationships, a deep concern for people combined with a sharply satirical social analysis. The Visitor begins seeming to be borderline fantasy/sci-fi, but then combines a storyline of apocalyptic fiction - the primary setting is ...more
Sven McNiven
The Visitor was an eclectic mix of post-apocalyptic writing, science fiction and fantasy. I initially felt that I wasn't enjoying the book, but persisted and discovered a pretty satisfying narrative. Some of the characters are rich and interesting, especially the bad ones. Rashel, the evil step sister and Hetman Gone are complex and extremely cool. I spent most of my time in the book cheering for them. The ending was a little ham-fisted and prevented this from receiving a higher rating. Will I b ...more
This was the hardest Tepper book I've read so far, though it wasn't bad. I just found it difficult to follow. The plot, of an asteroid hitting earth and a group of people surviving, and the dual story line of before and after The Happening, the emergence of the planned survivors as they met the accidentally surviving populace, was excellent. But I couldn't figure out a lot of what was happening and spent a lot of time lost and confused. In the end, more of it made sense, but I couldn't keep trac ...more
Apr 27, 2008 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 30, 2014 Carmen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting but uneven read. Tepper has quite the imagination, which I liked. The book started out strong and then slowed to a crawl, until the setting moved to Bastion. Then it became a fun read again until the cast left Bastion, at which time the plot bogged down completely and I felt like I was slogging through quicksand to get to the end.

I think a different writer may have penned the final quarter of the book. Descriptions of everyone--their role, their turn to speak, their turn to anima
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
This was a fascinating one for me. Rather liberal agenda overtones which weren't too subtle. The premise of this story was pretty interesting. Does the ends justify the means? Some of the retributions perpetrated upon the hate mongers was amusing and made me laugh.

Then it all comes tumbling down when the helpful aliens's history is reinterpreted or "discovered". They question their real purpose and their foundation. I guess for me, it was a pointless exercise because I felt what they are doing n
Lisa Murray
Sep 30, 2014 Lisa Murray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
post-apocaplyptic version of earth struggling to balance faith (or magic) and science--hard to get into but wonderful once there
Feb 19, 2009 Melissa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate to give one stars. I figure that this must be reserved for the ones I put down because they are too boring, or the author stoops to levels where I am not ready to follow. I read this one, though, and at its best moments it was three stars and then it got preachy, and then it never really explained the story, leaving me with too many questions. Its one of those books that begs to be rewritten, using the same premise, but a clearer story line. I have never read Ms. Tepper before, and since ...more
Mar 27, 2014 Debi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another homerun by Ms. Tepper. This is a multi layered story that gets better with each read.
Delicious Strawberry
I have been a fan of Ms. Tepper for the last few years, so I have enjoyed many of her books. However, this one was harder to enjoy due to the deus ex machina brought into here (and the magic) I understood the story - and there were some GREAT lines in here as well as some awesome scenes - but like in a few of her other books, there's a deus ex machina that explains everything. I actually had more fun with the beginning and middle - and Chairs and Bottles are a unique idea. Overall a enjoyable bo ...more
Mar 24, 2011 Jaqui rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most of Sheri S. Tepper's work, this novel builds a post-apocalyptic world and society that are totally believable. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters and the storyline, as usual. But this book didn't pack the punch that I expect from the end of a Tepper fantasy. Certainly it was a good ending, but typically Tepper leaves me breathless with the implications of her final reveal. I found that this ending required too much pure explanation and was overly complex for the story, with no ...more
Sheri S. Tepper was one of my favorite authors as a teenager. I felt like it would be nice to go back and read her again. Particularly as it was a nice post-apocalyptic storyline. I found the first 100 pages terribly confusing. I've just gotten out of the habit of reading sci-fi and found the world building a little confusing and frustrating. Eventually when more was reveled I really got into the story and enjoyed it quite a bit. I felt like the ending was a little strange and a little weak. But ...more
Emma Willis
The plot was okay (hence only 3 stars) but Tepper's writing, as always, was brilliant. This book was a breath of fresh air after the recent dross I've read.
Arianna Pier
Jan 06, 2014 Arianna Pier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I am a fan of both sci-fi and fantasy novels, but before I read this book I thought I would never be able too have both in a book at the same time. So that's one of the reasons I love this book. It successfully integrates sci-fi and fantasy into a plot and world that is both creative and completely original. A definite must read :)
Sep 06, 2011 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is not only my favorite Tepper book but hands down one of my favorite books of all time. I think because the plot actually moves along and I care about the characters and it's just SO INTERESTING. I think it's a great treatise on what could happen after an asteroid hits the earth and destroys life as we know it - the civilizations that arise out of the ashes, and in typical Tepper weirdness, bizarre religions, various magic and space aliens. Win forever. I read this once a year at least.
Oct 03, 2007 Sally rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fiction
About post-apocalyptic Earth. The first two-thirds of this book is fascinating. It offers an interesting concept with a lot of potential. It takes a while to connect the disparate plots in the beginning, but the fine writing and character development keeps you engaged, and as the bigger picture emerges, you're thankful you waded through the ambiguity. Then in the last 20+ pages, the story just tanks. Disappointing. But I really did enjoy the first two-thirds of the book.
Jan 11, 2012 Xandra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In general, I love Sheri S. Tepper's work. Her voice speaks right to me, and the settings and characters she writes of always inspire me.

Visitor started out with the promise of another Tepper book I'd like. And it held that promise up until the very end, where it puttered out with one of the lamest endings I've ever read - very close to a 'Deus ex Machina' type cop-out.

I highly recommend Ms. Tepper. Just not this one.
I have...complicated feelings about this book. It's mostly good (until the wheels fall off the political narrative bus at the end), it's interesting with interesting characters in Dismé and Nell, but it's full of some stuff that's just too weird and off-kilter even for Tepper.

And then there's the end religious stuff, which...idek. It's ridiculously didactic even within Tepper's usual didactic prose.
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Sheri Stewart Tepper is a prolific American author of science fiction, horror and mystery novels; she is particularly known as a feminist science fiction writer, often with an ecofeminist slant.

Born near Littleton, Colorado, for most of her career (1962-1986) she worked for Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, where she eventually became Executive Director. She has two children and is married to Gen
More about Sheri S. Tepper...

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“Nothing limits intelligence more than ignorance; nothing fosters ignorance more than one's own opinions; nothing strengthens opinions more than refusing to look at reality.” 60 likes
“Not many years before the Happening, one of your country's largest religious bodies officially declared that their book was holier than their God, thus simultaneously and corporately breaking several commandments of their own religion, particularly the first one. Of course they liked the book better! It was full of magic and contradictions that they could quote to reinforce their bigoted and hateful opinions, as I well know, for I chose many parts of it from among the scrolls and epistles that were lying around in caves here and there. They're correct that a god picked out the material; they just have the wrong god doing it.
(The small god in Ch. 44)”
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