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The Disestablishment of Paradise
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The Disestablishment of Paradise

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  170 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Something has gone wrong on the planet of Paradise. The human settlers - farmers and scientists - are finding that their crops won't grow and their lives are becoming more and more dangerous. The indigenous plant life - never entirely safe - is changing in unpredictable ways, and the imported plantings wither and die. And so the order is given - Paradise will be abandoned. ...more
Hardcover, 516 pages
Published February 1st 2013 by Orion Publishing Group
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Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Disestablishment of Paradise centres around the most fascinating alien world I've encountered since China Mieville's Embassytown.

Imagine a botanical Eden, a world where every evolutionary niche is filled by plants, from moss to flowers to titanic, elephant-dwarfing tree-creatures that uproot themselves and crash about looking for mates. Imagine a world that earns it's name - Paradise - with it's intoxicating fruits, crystal clear water and a natural beauty that draws people from around the g
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
Okay, let me get this out of the way up front: This book is not going to be for everybody. Let's face it, giant-half-plant-half-animals-in-space is not everybody's cup of tea. It will be easy for some people to dismiss this as enviro-space-opera. Who knows. Maybe those people are right. After all I didn't particularly relate to any of the characters. I didn't even particularly like the female protagonist, Hera, who was the archetypal older female academic. I don't have a particular penchant for ...more
Ian Banks
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Phillip Mann is an Englishman living in New Zealand. His previous novels have been excellent, though not always entirely to my taste. He does, however, always give the reader plenty of thoughtful material to work with. His latest novel, The Disestablishment Of Paradise, is billed as an ecological thriller in the vein of Avatar and Silent Running but is really a piece that finds its own way. The comparisons are inevitable, I guess: like Avatar, it tells the story of humans on a near-sentient plan ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I made a note of this book only last year, and you may ask how it managed to get bumped ahead of all the other books on my to-read list. Well, I realised that I was neglecting part of the Family Tree Challenge that Book-loving Kiwis (my favourite Goodreads group) is doing - I'm working through all the letters of everyone's names, but I'd forgotten the other option which is to read a book by or about a person with the whole name of family members. And so far, all I'd done for that was my son Rupe ...more
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-sw-sci-fi
Hmm, difficult to rate this one. On one hand, it's got interesting world-building and a timely (if somewhat depressing) reminder of humanity's tendency to exploit resources without considering the impact on the environment. And I liked the format, mixing narrative with later documentation and supporting documents that make it look like a scientific inquiry.

On the other hand, it gets bogged down in a mushy love story that happens out of nowhere - literally, we'd never even met the main male chara
Mar 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-collection, sci-fi
Author living in New Zealand? Shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke? Alien world of plants? Old style?
For me this was a must-read. I was hoping to be entranced.
Unfortunately the reality ultimately disappointed.
My main impression is that this book is patchy - in pace, in narrative, in characterisation, in world-building. Some areas excellent, others certainly not.
Very forgettable.
James Manning
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Really imaginative idea, but poorly executed. No respect or sympathy for the characters as they are voiced with prose that is saturated with melodrama. Big monologue from the main character 40% in killed me off.
Nov 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Aetheric storyline. Lacking the depth and and scope expected, but making up for that with a refreshing simplicity.
Dark Matter
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This and more reviews, interviews etc are on Dark Matter Zine, an online magazine. This review was written by James Kennedy for Dark Matter Zine.

The Disestablishment of Paradise is set a few hundred years in the future at a time when humans have colonised at least 150 planets. The vast majority of these planets are located outside our solar system, and a giant “fractal” network allows people, goods and letters to travel between these planets with relative ease. The
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Starts off as a promising science fiction story, then turns into a middle-aged woman's story of how she's way too sexually frustrated and believes she has sexual encounters with plants.
Mark Sheinbaum
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it
well written world building by the author. some interesting ideas. the invented world got to be a bit much after a while, but all in all not too bad.
Jenine Young
this took me a few attempts are reading but was really interesting once I got past the first few chapters
Roddy Williams
Phillip Mann seldom disappoints and here provides another blend of sharply crafted characterisation with a beautifully detailed alien landscape.
Paradise is a world of exotic plant life, a world on which humans have been living for more than two centuries. Hera Melhuish is an exobiologist and protégé of a discredited scientist, Shapiro whose insistence on the viability of an unproven Gaia theory saw him ostracised from the scientific community. Paradise, however, seems to be proving him right as
Scott Asher
Dec 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This isn’t your normal science fiction book. Interestingly, the difference is the addition of metaphysics and the supernatural to one being’s journey of spiritual discovery.

Dr. Hera Melhuish, leader of ORBE – a scientific project on the planet Paradise – is upset. Not only is ORBE’s role on Paradise being cancelled, but the planet is being disestablished. In the future humans don’t just colonize planets. Instead they try planets out for some time then determine whether or not to colonize longer
Jenine Young
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book took two tries for me to get into it, it got much more interesting after the first quarter with all the politics.
Susan Kornfeld
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mann did some very thoughtful world building, focusing on ecology. Readers who enjoy Sheri Tepper would probably enjoy this. Like many of Tepper's books, in this one the colonizers of the planet Paradise do deep intrinsic damage; like many of her books there is a deep planetary sentience. But Mann doesn't write like Tepper and he doesn't include other of her socio/feminist concerns here.

The book tells the story of the first discovery of the planet, its initial exploitation to recover costs (bot
Alan Wightman
Apr 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Alan by: Owen Mann
I haven't read much science fiction before, in fact only two books so far as I can remember, unless you count the novelisation of Star Wars, in which case, three books. The Disetablishment of Paradise reminded me strongly of one of these, by Card, I think the sequel to Ender's Game. And I haven't read Ender's Game, which shows just how ad hoc my reading has been. In that Card book, so far as I can recall, the action takes place on an alien planet where the native life-forms are strange, have cov ...more
May 28, 2016 rated it liked it
The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann is an Arthur C Clarke award nominee from 2014.

Humans are colonizing habitable planets for resources, and as the planet Paradise suddenly starts changing and becoming more unpredictable and unreliable, they make an exit. But two people stay to explore the planet and it's strange plant life.

I really liked the first 1/2 to 2/3rds of the book, the exodus of humans from the planet, the disenchantment felt by Hera (the female protagonist who thought Par
David O'Brien
Apr 07, 2014 rated it liked it
In general I liked the story and its stark warning about nature fighting back. I couldn't make myself like the main character, Hera, she was an utter pain in the ass. Mack, her eventual lover, was also a bit too generic and wholesome. While the story was reasonably well told I found the many long and detailed descriptive passages quite tedious, and they added little to the story. As a non-scientist I'm not interested in arguing about the solidity of the underlying principles used in these storie ...more
Meredith Miyake
I loved and hated this book in turns. The world of Paradise is curious, enchanting, and more than a little frightening, and I enjoyed exploring it. The two major drawbacks were the motivations and actions of the protagonist - at times unfathomable, ridiculous, or simply irritating- and the fact that they tell you the end at the beginning of the book. This is intriguing for for first 3/4 or so, then agonizing. The last 30 pages were my favorite part, really. Honestly, I think this book should be ...more
Peter Greenwell
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
One of the knottier books I've read. It's quite a struggle in many places then all of a sudden it picks up, only to mire itself in narrative lulls again. It's written in a strange mixed-up present tense/recounting style where half of the time it's a retelling by an interviewer and other times, it's from the viewpoint of the characters themselves, i.e Hera, Mack and so on. In other words, there's places where you can't figure out who is actually telling the story.

Superficially, the book is a cros
Caroline Mersey
Nov 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
Just like proverbially banging one's head against the wall, I felt much better when I stopped trying to read The Disestablishment Of Paradise. The handy-wavy 'spiritual' plot of a Gaia-style aware planet felt tired. The trite, stereotyped characters (the scientist who doesn't know how to love! the illiterate manual labourer who is in touch with 'earth science' like dowsing!) were two-dimensional and made nonsensical decisions to advance the plot. The narrator insisted on telling rather than show ...more
Tracey Pal
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've really enjoyed Phillip Mann's writing in the past - "Pioneers" is an old favourite, but I wasn't expecting to like this one for some reason (despite the fabulous cover ;). Phew! I was wrong! I wanted more when it finished, and you can't really get a better recommendation than that. The only bone I really have to pick was the foreshadowing - very early on, you knew how it was going to end, but the journey there was great.
great promise, wonderful imagination! I just came to dislike the 'voice' of the main character towards the end. the book /character required you to make some pretty fantastic logical jumps that I didn't feel were either warranted or helpful to the story. started great, left me with a slightly sour taste, which read made worse by going onto the author's website and reading some pseudo-scientific anti-human/technoligical progress comments. would definitely recommend to those that love Avatar.
Kaitlynn N
Jun 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
A young adult novel that might as well have been written by a young adult. With such an amazing premise as a planet going rouge and causing inhabitants to leave, you'd think it wouldn't be so played out and dense. This book was probably 300 pages too long and could have been written as a found diary or stand alone novel, yet it's written as several letters were found and all this work went into making this recollection and the writer just came off as wayyy to into their story.
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I loved this book. It is set up as a frame story with an author telling of her writing of a biography of a famous biologist and her escape from a planet. Not only does the book contain the frame, but within the frame, the biologist tells tales written by another story teller. This story brings to life the impossible planet Paradise and shows the author to have a truly unique imagination.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish this one, the biased documentary style writing combined with the mystical planet and space happenings just failed to interest me. It was painful reading the first part, maybe it gets better, but I'm not up to finding out.

I still may try other books by this author, but if the next one leaves me as cold as this one, then in the future I will pass.
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Upgraded from 3 to 4 because 18 months on I still find myself thinking about it, particularly the planet and natives. At the time of reading my enjoyment of the book was up and down. Some great ideas and chapters, just not many of them.
Michael O'Donnell
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Great start but descended into Love Story mixed with Gaia. The science did not jell. The action and depth of detail were well written. A woman in love, from her perspective written by a man did not work. A lot of good writing wasted. Too broad a canvas.
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. The beginning annoyed me as it was a little obvious in it's political machinations but as the story developed I became completely engrossed. An excellent old school sci fi read.
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Phillip Mann was born in 1942 and studied English and Drama at Manchester University and later in California. He worked in the New China News Agency in Beijing for two years but has lived in New Zealand since 1969, working as a theatre critic, drama teacher and university Reader in Drama.

* Pawl Paxwax, the Gardener
* A Land Fit for Heroes
“Is there wisdom in innocence? I think there is, but there is a cult now of drab men and women, for whom the world, and even life itself, is a kind of commodity. These critics, having eaten, now study their excrement to see what they consumed. On this they base certain conclusions. Their ignorance is uncompromising. Let us rather stand before the unknown, in very humble, quiet observance and wait while it reveals itself.” 6 likes
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