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A Call to Arms (The Damned, #1)
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A Call to Arms (The Damned #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,360 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
For eons, the Amplitur had searched space for intelligent species, each of which was joyously welcomed to take part in the fulfillment of the Amplitur Purpose. Whether it wanted to or not. When the Amplitur and their allies stumbled upon the races called the Weave, the Purpose seemed poised for a great leap forward. But the Weave's surprising unity also gave it the ability ...more
Published July 2nd 1992 by Legend (first published 1991)
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Mike (the Paladin)
Reviewed this a good while back...just correcting a typo.

This book combines an interesting take on "alien invasion", human nature, and the nature of war itself while telling a perfectly readable and accessible story. The book isn't a deep literary read, but it does what it does very well. I liked it and couldn't wait till the next one was available.

The "invaders" you see aren't invaders, noooooo. They just want to "offer" everyone the "opportunity" to be part of their "plan". Of course all races
Derek Wade
Will Dulac needs to be punched in the mouth, repeatedly. His petulant insistence that "Humans are peaceful. We don't want war any more, and we certainly don't want any part of an interstellar conflict!" can be boiled down rather simply to: "I am a music professor from New Orleans who is suffering from writer's block. Somehow I was lucky enough for advanced alien species to contact ME, and therefore I am going to interject my personal prejudices and bias into their perception of humanity, and pot ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked many things about this novel, but I despised the main character Will Dulac. He was arrogant, classist, stubborn in the worst way and all around miserable to read about.

Will is the first contact a group of advanced aliens have with mankind on Earth. In summary, the aliens are part of an alliance called the Weave, that are fighting a separate group of aliens controlled by the Amplitur. There were a lot of things to like about this plot like the aliens' confusion with multiple land masses
Aug 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great idea, fantastic world, terrible protagonist.

I'd give this book a solid four stars if it wasn't for the character of Will Dulac. He doesn't act like any human I've ever known and continually denies human history. He's technically a hippie, but I live in a neighborhood full of hippies and not one of them would continually try to convince an alien race that humans were anything but violent. Sure, we're trying to overcome it, but our history is undeniable -- as the aliens keep insisting to hi
Alan Islas Cital
I friend from work recommended this book and even got it for me. When I saw it I was very worried with this cover, quite tacky, very 80s, and a bit gay in a funny way.

But once I went beyond that I was hooked by the idea of the Amplitur, this species, so consumed by their "Purpose" that they have to make sure every being embraces it, even when their "gentle suggestions" don't work and they have to resort to force.

The ancient war between the Amplitur and their slaves (pardon, they are equal with
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book stands out from typical sci-fi in that the human race is not really the focus of the story, which begins and ends with aliens that will encounter humans. It also has a human protagonist who is almost a caricature of a pacifist to the point that I couldn't really enjoy his sections. I understand pacifism as a reasoned approach, but there's a point where it is ridiculous. Or maybe that's me; I sympathized with the willingness to blow away the bad aliens. I believe that's built into us ge ...more
Mathew Anderson
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would consider this one of the greatest easy-to-read science fiction books about humanity's reason for exploring space ever. There are so many stories about aliens visiting Earth and destroying us, so many more about us overtaking aliens, but in this case it is the aliens that come for our help... to fight other aliens in a massive galactic war - a war where humanity has a unique edge.
Feb 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is one of those books I'd like to read again, and then read the other books in the series. I wasn't crazy about it the first time, but I find myself thinking about it and some of the characters that were in it. Any book that makes me think about it years and years after I read it, should definitely get a second read.
If you’re into world building, first contact, and novels told from the perspective of aliens, you will likely enjoy this novel. It’s not the most exciting novel in terms of action, it’s a great foray into alien cultures discovering us (as opposed to the other way around) and is accompanied by Foster’s wonderful ability to provide nuance and specificity to alien cultures in a way that feels unique and believable. If you’re also partial to the Tumblr threads about how humans are the “space orcs” o ...more
Mark Bradford
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good read for those liking alien contact stories. If you're fascinated by interactions of other cultures, especially those that don't exist, you'll enjoy this and the entire series. If you want to see mankind from the outside in, yep - this is a good one.

I always enjoy Alan Dean Foster's take on things. His outside of the box, not taking something for granted way of thinking has always been inspiring.

He's a tireless writer, and I've read most of his books. My picky brain doesn't like most othe
Janine Southard
With all the "you really want a human involved in your space-whatever" that's going around these days, stuff like this is cropping up a lot recently.

The beginning is a bit repetitive and difficult to wade through (my crit group would never let me get away with it), but also fun and worth it.

As for the idea that what humanity really has to offer the galaxy is a lustiness for war? Well, I prefer stories where we are the only species to have invented paint... then again, so does the main (human) c
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF at about 40% I think? It was a shame because I desperately wanted to like this book, because I have a weakness for sci-fi where humans are different or special :P
But SWEET FUCKING LORD the main character was annoying. He was the worst kind of pretentious condescending fuckwit you could possibly imagine. And that absolutely ruined it for me :(
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty cool. There could be more action or more likeable characters. But a universe in which humans are the strongest aliens, the fastest/ deadliest was a welcome change.
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting story, but kind of depressing.
M Hamed
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-sci-fi, 2017
damn...just damn
i have always thought of Alan Dean Foster as...generic
but this shit was deep
The galaxy is currently embroiled in a vast war between two groups- the Amplitur, who believe in peace through conquest and control, and the Weave who fight against their tyranny and slavery. The problem is, both mentally and physically there are very few intelligent species suited for war and both sides make do with allies who contribute what they can to the war effort, resting the actual fighting on the few who are capable of it. Then, the Weave finds earth and humans, who appear to be ideal w ...more
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I read this book when I was in college and since those days
I've re-read this book several times. Each time I read it,
the book does not fail to entertain and I always finish the
book feeling that it was time well spent.

I own a copy and since it's Christmas break, I found time to
re-read this again :-) Just finished it yesterday after reading
on and off for 3 days.

Not to give anything away, but lots of sci-Fi fans will like
this book. I've always enjoyed reading Alan Dean Foster books,
because he wr
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've been a big big fan of Alan Dean Foster's work in SF from the very first book of his that I read. I hit a snag though, when I came across this book. I mean, the characters are as engaging as they ever are in one of Mr. Foster's stories, but much of the rest of it was just... wrong. For one thing, the basic premise really rubbed me the wrong way. Mr. Foster has stated in interviews that the basic idea presented in this book is that "What humans do really well is FIGHT". In the context of the ...more
Peter Last
This book committed the unpardonable sin of novels: it was simply boring. When I rated this, I waffled for a considerable amount of time between two and three stars because it does have some unique and intriguing ideas. But not even that can make up for a novel being boring.

My greatest complaint is that much of the book was not action oriented (action in any sense of the word) rather a great amount of space was spent describing history, what people were thinking, environments, etc. When things d
John Abbott
Great premise and an all around enjoyable book.

A group of aliens that have fought with another group of aliens for over a millennia find Earth to see if we would be willing to help them in their battle. The group of aliens is called "The Weave", they don't try to push their own agenda too hard but they do want to test us.

Will Durac is the first person they decide to contact in a lagoon near Belize. Will is a classical composer of music. He is also very against Humans becoming a part of the Weav
Danae Mehraban
My husband read this book back when he was in high-school and was so intrigued by its take on humanity that he read it several times. When he found a copy of it at a used bookstore he was so excited and asked me to read it. :)
This is a interesting story from a very different point of view than other Sci-Fi I have read. I have not read the rest in the series so I am not sure where it leads.
The end fell a bit flat on me, but maybe that is because it is written to lead you to the next book.
The cha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Drew Nelson
Oct 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall a very good, thought provoking book about specialization and the human penchant for war. Warning, I might spoil a few things here for those of you who like to remain pure: essentially, humanity is the most warlike race to ever evolve. We're the only ones in the entire universe that likes violence in our entertainment, although our technology level was low for things like power sources and such, the galaxy found us building pretty sophisticated weaponry. We thrive on war, and no one else ...more
Chris Gardner
This is a good rainy day read. The Weave, an alliance of peace loving races, is being attacked by another group of fanatical races. They badly need help. Humanity is all they dreamed for as a savior, but could humanity also be the devil in disguise?[return][return]A good average read. A bit slow in the middle of the book when Foster muses about humanities innate desire for confrontation and our civilized desire to be at peace.[return][return]If you like Alan Dean Foster, this book will not let y ...more
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A certain number of "first contact" books make the claim that humanity is somehow special. This is one of those. Humans are violent and primitive - but amazingly violent for their level of development. Civilized species abhor violence.

Since there's a massive interstellar war afoot, this means that humanity makes a valuable if uncomfortable ally, recruited into the armed forces of the "good guys." Even if a little uncomfortably and prematurely. It's an interesting read whether or not you find the
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book sometime ago and was enamored with it's unique take on human/alien interaction. It was written from the alien's civilized point of view and was an interesting and entertaining view of human nature.
While I still enjoyed the book, it didn't hold up that well since the last time I read it. I found that human nature was a little too generalized and the main character was an irritating peace-monger who's motivation for his behavior became harder and harder to buy as the book went on
Oct 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-my-library
Interesting book. In a galaxy of various life forms what do humans excel at. According to A Call To Arms we are good at everything, might not be the best but that combination and nature for conflict prove useful in an intergalactic war. This book has a little bit of Starship Troopers from the perspective of other races and goes into detail about our peculiarities as a race. Numerous languages, no central government and selfishness being ones that are not known in the galaxy's version of Civiliza ...more
Al "Tank"
Aliens land on Earth looking for help in an interstellar war. The first guy they contact is a Peace activist who tries to convince them that humans don’t like to fight and are all peace-loving.

I generally like Foster’s work, especially his Flinx / Pip novels, but this one is much too long. Not that it’s all that big, it’s just that it should have been told using half the space. A lot of the story is repetition of what’s gone before, but in slightly altered form. Unfortunately, I got bored with t
Damon Bratcher
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tend to like books that explore a novel / unique concept. In this case, the way the author portrays humanity in relation to all the other alien races is something I haven't encountered before in my previous science fiction reading. I won't say too much, as it will spoil the novel, but definitely worth the read for anyone who is a fan of the genre. Things go a little slow until events finally center around Earth, and Will Dulac can be a frustrating protagonist, but overall the unique take on hu ...more
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Bestselling science fiction writer Alan Dean Foster was born in New York City in 1946, but raised mainly in California. He received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA in 1968, and a M.F.A. in 1969. Foster lives in Arizona with his wife, but he enjoys traveling because it gives him opportunities to meet new people and explore new places and cultures. This interest is carried over to his writing, ...more
More about Alan Dean Foster...

Other Books in the Series

The Damned (3 books)
  • The False Mirror (The Damned, #2)
  • The Spoils of War (The Damned, #3)