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The Man Who Fell to Earth

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  2,233 ratings  ·  222 reviews
T.J. Newton is an extraterrestrial who goes to Earth on a desperate mission of mercy. But instead of aid, Newton discovers loneliness and despair that ultimately ends in tragedy.
176 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1963)
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Jacob While there doesn't seem to be any obvious mention of it anywhere I have looked, it was reprinted in 1981 and it seems reasonable to assume that Tevis…moreWhile there doesn't seem to be any obvious mention of it anywhere I have looked, it was reprinted in 1981 and it seems reasonable to assume that Tevis made the changes in the not inconsiderable space between. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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.
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
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
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
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
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
Daniel Gonçalves
Aug 26, 2013 Daniel Gonçalves rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Doug H
I developed a like/hate relationship with this Spec Fi novel. I hated the clunky prose and the poor character development, but I appreciated some of its philosophy and I liked how its storyline was presented.

The main thing that bugged me was how the author presented the bulk of his ideas as exposition in Newton's "full reveal" conversation with Bryce. If there were more show and less tell, I'd have remained more fully involved. Also, it all seemed to take itself too seriously with its in-your-f
...more
Banner


This was a thought provoking science fiction classic. While the use of dates made it "dated" the content was not so dated (maybe just a little). An alien comes to earth and through physical modifications and intense language training (picked up from our tv signals). He comes from an advanced race and he has an agenda. But is he a good guy or not? Not very clear at the beginning but he is a likable fellow so I found myself giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Nothing helps us see ourselves as clea
...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
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
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
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
Paul
I couldn't decide between 3 and 4 stars. I liked the novel, but it left me feeling a little down. An alien (Newton) closely resembling a human (in terms of body shape and size, but not all of the details) comes to earth to save the 300 beings left of his species. His species all but destroyed itself in war and ravaged the planet of natural resources. Newton comes to Earth (to save humans from themselves and grab some resources for his species) and is worn down as he begins to realize that all of ...more
Luca
"C'era una volta un ragazzo chiamato pazzo e diceva sto meglio in un pozzo che su un piedistallo [...] Ho deciso di perdermi nel mondo anche se sprofondo [...] Che nell'incosciente non c'è negazione."
Addio signor Newton.
Lynn
Simple story -- too much responsibility can break anybody, even a savior. Wonderful speculative fiction written in 1963 about events in 1985. My edition must have been edited to include the Watergate scandal.....not sure why the audience needed another example of our political and moral corruption. Never mind.
Emre Yalabık
Sahafta elime geçen, gerçek bir bilim kurgu klasiği diyebilirim. Athea gezegeninden, özel bir görev için dünyaya yollanan bir alien'ın hikayesi. Filmini henüz izlemediğim halde, Thomas Jerome Newton karakteri için, David Bowie'den daha iyi bir seçenek olamazdı diye düşünüyorum.
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.
Steve
An interesting slice of the "classic" sci-fi canon (although plenty would disagree), and I can't explain why I never got around to it before. This is an entertaining enough, quirky (and, yes, slender) book, originally published in the 1960's (1963), but set primarily in the 1980's (and dipping, somewhat briefly, into the 1990's). It's relatively thought-provoking although, I have to assume, it must have seemed far more fresh, creative, and "out there" 50+ years ago.

The book is surprisingly mode
...more
Alexis Peixoto
O mais triste, arrebatador e tocante romance de ficção científica que já li. Cinco estrelas é pouco.
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
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
Mo
A great idea told with middling ability. An alien comes to Earth, alone, on a mission to save what's left of his dwindling society. He blends in - sort of. It's really a story about being lonely and weird. (Also fabulously rich. And drunk.) The author attempts to create the kind of melancholy, autumnal atmosphere this premise requires by making his characters drink a lot (seriously - A LOT), describing how old and apparently pathetic they are, and having them ruminate about nuclear war and how f ...more
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
Fran
La fantascienza è solo lo spunto iniziale, lo sfondo.
Il nocciolo è l'angoscia del vivere, il fatto che ognuno è fondamentalmente solo.

Quanto adoro Asimov.
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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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