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Seeds of Earth (Humanity's Fire, #1)
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Seeds of Earth (Humanity's Fire #1)

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  1,706 ratings  ·  154 reviews
A multi-layered, 21st century take on the classic tropes of space opera by a bold new voice in British science fiction.
Paperback, 622 pages
Published 2010 by Orbit (first published 2009)
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Dirk Grobbelaar

And he awoke to the steel pains of his aged, wounded body, lying on a cold seabed on an alien world in an alien universe.

There is a clear divide here, as far as the reviews are concerned. Some people really enjoyed this novel, while others, well, really didn’t. I’d read some of the reviews before starting Seeds of Earth, so I was actively on the lookout for reasons to dislike it, but surprisingly didn’t find any. True, the first third of the book isn’t paced as hastily as some might like, but it
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Charles
I very nearly gave up on this book. While the setting and overall plot seem full of potential (a small human colony regains contact with the greater galaxy and immediately becomes the centre of a power struggle between multiple forces), the author just did such a terrible job of making the characters interesting, of sticking to a plot section for more than a few pages or of making things cohesive that I found myself pushing to the end of the book just to see whether he'd actually resolve anythin ...more
Liviu
A mixture of IM Banks gonzo imagination and KJ Anderson Seven Suns saga style, The Seeds of Earth is a fast adventure oriented space opera with aliens of all stripes and shapes though all are "humanlike" in the grand old tradition, tiers of hyperspace, joke-cracking characters and all around fun.

Black and white villains and heroes and no character truly worth remembering so far, but so what, the novel is a lot of fun and I am looking forward to the next book.

Harking back to the 80's and 90's spa
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Alex
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rich
I tried, I really did. Early on I thought that I'd stumbled on that typical bad book by an author who wants to provide profound insights veiled behind a fast-paced genre plot. But there was Iain Banks on the cover saying it was "proper galaxy spanning space opera" so I persevered. All the wy to page 51 where I read

"'This is your zinsilu, Scholar,' said the Pathmaster, as if Chel's inner thoughts were clear as written words. ' A zinsilu such as has not been seen for a thousand generations. Schola
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Kevan
Iain M banks is one of my all time favourite authors and he's quoted on the front of the copy of this book - "Proper galaxy spanning Space Opera"

The only way this can make any sense is if the original quote was something like "If this guy thinks he can write proper galaxy spanning space opera then he is seriously delusional"
Elijs Dima
Yeah, that quote from Iain Banks on this book's cover? ...No. Just no.

With that out of the way: This book is not, on the whole, a good read.
The writing style is cumbersome and annoying, lacking a natural flow and descriptive elements. Every sentence is stuffed to bursting with non-words for made-up concepts, even though the author does not spend any effort in making you as a reader to connect with the concept.
The ideas forming the universe and story are bland and iterative. Cobley does not brin
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James
Any book recommended by Iain M. Banks has got to be worth a read and this one was worth it. The first in a trilogy – Humanity's Fire – it tells the story of a human community escaped from a doomed Earth making their way on an alien planet. Living alongside it's indigenous peoples when suddenly they are discovered by outside aliens and their world, their history and their future begins to unravel...
Casey
I would probably give this 4.5 stars to be accurate. It was pretty fantastic all around, especially if you love Space Opera! The brief plot burb, that of 'First contact wasn't supposed to be like this...resulting in earth sending three colony ships to the stars to try and survive' is what drew me in. But...there is sooooo much more to this book.

The characters are all pretty great and decently flushed out for such a large cast. The multitude of alien species is wonderful as well. The book jumps
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Ben Babcock
This book landed on my to-read list in 2009, and I remembered nothing about it when I finally tracked it down at my library. (For a while, I actually owned a used copy in the UK, but it went missing. Very mysterious. I suspect the AIs had something to do with it.) As I started reading Seeds of Earth, I wanted to dislike it. I wanted to find faults with it. Disappointingly that didn’t happen; frustratingly I found myself drawn into the story and Michael Cobley’s intricate depiction of a multivers ...more
Tom
4 and a half stars, really.

Really fun, engaging space opera which packs EVERYTHING into one story: machines vs organics, alien races both good and evil (and neutral), human resistance, space chases/battles, ancient alien ruins, sentient forests, politics, AI/droid characters with tons of personality, and more. It's a lot like Mass Effect, entirely in good ways. Cobley has created a living universe with lots of action and intrigue.

It's not entirely perfect though. The writing is mostly just funct
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Mike
Seeds of the Earth is the first in a new space opera series by Michael Cobley. The cover features a nice one line quote from space opera master Iain M. Banks describing the novel as “Proper galaxy-spanning space opera.” A statement that couldn’t be more true. Seeds of the Earth is very old school with a large cast of characters and a diverse and wonderfully vibrant phalanx of ideas that makes for an great read and excellent starting point in jumping from my epic fantasy reading of November into ...more
Koen
I bought “Seeds of Earth” on Veterans day 29th of July 2013 at the American Book Center in The Hague. De shop manager gave me 10% discount “only for Veterans”. Thank you again!

I really do like the writing style of Micheal Cobley. Easy to read and also compelling as well as character driven. However sometimes Micheal Cobles misses the chance to further develop the characters. Meet a score of humans, aliens and AI’s:
• Holger Sundstrom
• Vitaly Pyatkov
• Donny Barbour
• John Balfour
• Theodore Karlsso
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Bookgirlr
I have made no secret of the fact that Science Fiction is my favorite genre. It is also the genre about which I am the pickiest. I like a certain type of Science Fiction. Julie E. Czerneda, David Brin, and Elizabeth Bear are my favorites, and I’ve generally been really pleased with everything I’ve read from Orbit Publishing. Strong characters and a well developed world are vital; the actual science is secondary to me. If you tell a strong story with an emphasis on character and world building I ...more
Carol Lindsey
Every opera needs a cast list, and this first-in-a-trilogy Space Opera needs one. That written, it's a good read, though occasionally uneven in terms of pacing. Without giving anything away, the universe is teeming with sentients, mostly jerks intent on maximizing profit, political reach and control, and generally thinking of numero uno. Humans are on both sides of the line, including the sidelines, and are usually in the wrong place at the most painful times. Every science fiction element, exce ...more
Carl Timms
I really wanted to like this, I really did. It had so many elements that I should love in a ook- ancient intergalactic threat reawakened, lost earth colonies, galactic empires at war, weird alternate dimensions.

But somehow it just didn't work for me. There was a bit of Babylon 5, a bit of Avatar, a bit of Mass Effect and a lot of Star Wars. That should be rgeat but somehow it just didn't gel and worst of all, it bored me. Unfortunately I've seen reviews for part 2 and it doesn't look like things
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edifanob
Seeds of Earth is as powerful as Smoke on the Water (by Deep Purple), as twisted as Paranoid (by Black Sabbath) and as epic as Stairway to Heaven bY Led Zeppelin).

As a lover of epic fantasy I tell you that is the kind of space opera I want to read. For me it is epic fantasy in future. I recommend it! Give it a go....

Read my full review over at Only The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy.
Patrick Hayes
It took a while for me to get into this book, but by page 50 things certainly began to speed up! An epic story of a lost human colony of 150 years that is discovered by Earth. The colony learns that Earth is merely a puppet world for a large alien empire. Each chapter jumps to a different characters' point of view, which I enjoyed though I found myself enjoying some characters' stories more so than others.

I haven't read a book with this many different alien species since David Brin did his Uplif
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Don Viecelli
From My Newsletter #36:

I found a new three book series to read called Humanity’s Fire. The author is named Michael Cobley. Book One is called Seeds Of Earth.

The story begins with a Prologue set in the year 2126. Human Marine forces are being overrun by alien invaders on Mars and the outcome looks hopeless. The battle for Earth produces massive losses. However, as time seems to be running out for humanity, three interstellar colony ships are built and launched into deep space to find other worlds
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Rowan Mulder
Easy to read space opera that does not by itself add very shocking or new elements to the game, but it's a good read nonetheless.

In the future humanity is on the verge of being defeated by an insect swarm like race and three "generation" ships are sent off as a desperate move to secure humanities future. The story starts with one of the three ships where the people are co-existing with the native race of the planet and moon. The story accelerates fast when earth through Earth Force re-establishe
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Mitchell


The book Seeds of Earth is a book written in the future. Most of the action happens on the three ships that are carrying Earths civilians. The Book is about various missions and problems that they must over come. One of their main problems is the fact that their home world is destroyed and only have 2000 humans left alive. The book is told in chapters of first person that is dedicated to the chapter.

This book was very interesting because of the futuristic scene that the story takes place in. The
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Jaine Fenn
This is a review for the whole trilogy - Seeds of Earth, Orphaned Worlds and Humanity's Fire - as I read them back-to-back

These books took a bit of getting into, as I found the pedestrian style hard going and hard to engage with, and the characters - of which there are many - a little interchangeable at first. Oddly, the book I had the least problems with was book 2, The Orphaned Worlds.

Having said that, this trilogy does do what it says on the tin, or rather cover. The late great Iain M Banks h
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Eli Vogel
All in all, a pretty good book.

I picked up this book mainly for the promise of political intrigue, and on that it truly delivered. It was a bit confusing at times, and not overly-well explained, but it seemed to be an interesting, and understandable struggle over a seemingly unimportant world. The different players of this game are never truly well depicted or explained, but I like books like that, which let the readers decide what the motivations of different factions are. It would also seem th
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Thomas
Very good book. Seeds of Earth starts off the Humanity's Fire series and is a great book. It's written in a George R. R. Martin type style where every chapter is coming from the perspective of a different character. This is both great but also bad.
It's great because you get to see multiple stories that are all linked somehow, and you also get to witness everything from a different character's perspective instead of just seeing it through one character's eyes. It's bad because it gets confusing
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Michel Meijer
My head is bursting from reading Seeds of Earth in the past weeks. The story did not manage to draw me in and causing me to read it in one go. In between putting it away and getting it up again, I finished 7 other books. So whats the verdict then? A proper galaxy spanning space opera is promised by the late Iain Banks on the cover, and I do value his writers skill extremely high.

The basic scenery is nice. Three colony ships have fled from an Earth that is being overwhelmed by an alien swarm. We
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Kate
I liked this well enough to get the second and third in the series out of the library.

It's been ages since I last read a sci-fi novel with quite so many alien species, and I think that that's one of the things that kept my attention because Cobley manages to write some interesting alien characters as well as human characters.

The lost human seed-ship recontacted trope is quite common in sci-fi, but Cobley handles it well and adds interest by making the planet that the humans have settled a flash
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Seamus Mahoney
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Keith Beasley-topliffe
There's a fairly interesting novella hidden in this bloated mess. It's the story of a young man who is sent on a quest and survives many terrifying misadventures and betrayals to reach the end. It's been done before, of course, particularly by Voltaire in Candide. But Cobley comes up with a fairly interesting version. Unfortunately, that's not enough for him. He also includes a find the ancient artifact story (cf "Forbidden Planet" or Fred Pohl's Heechee books), an insurgency story (Red Dawn?), ...more
Jay
Other reviews of this book have been a bit uneven, so I'm pleased to be able to give it four stars, for reasons I'll detail below. I ran across 'Seeds of Earth' at my local library, so it's a free read for me.

Although A.I.s that run amuck are not new, ('Terminator', 'The Matrix', etc.) it is a timely subject, as there have been several warnings in the news lately from real scientists, including Stephen Hawking himself, about some very real dangers. This book also addresses respect for the enviro
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David Alexander McLane
I'm a bit puzzled by the low ratings of this one. Is it simply the blurb on the cover by the great Iain M Banks that sets it up to fall short of lofty expectations? People seem to be taking major exception to this book as "Proper galaxy spanning space-opera", but I think it's exactly that: impressive world building and good characterization, but perhaps lacking in complete originality. It feels in places like Peter F. Hamilton's Fallen Dragon. Some of the aliens are very reminiscent of Niven's K ...more
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Mike Cobley was born in Leicester and has lived in Scotland since the age of seven. Although the Scottish cultural heritage informs much of his own outlook (egalitarian, argumentative yet amiable, and able to appreciate rain), he thinks of himself as a citizen of the world.

While studying engineering at Strathclyde University, he discovered the joys and risks of student life and pursued a sideline
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More about Michael Cobley...

Other Books in the Series

Humanity's Fire (4 books)
  • The Orphaned Worlds (Humanity's Fire, #2)
  • The Ascendant Stars (Humanity's Fire, #3)
  • Ancestral Machines
The Orphaned Worlds (Humanity's Fire, #2) The Ascendant Stars (Humanity's Fire, #3) Shadowkings Shadowgod Shadowmasque

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