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A Paradigm of Earth

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Candas Jane Dorsey's first novel, the fantasy Black Wine, won three significant awards and got enthusiastic reviews across the United States and Canada. Now Dorsey returns with a literary SF parable about a woman named Morgan and her offbeat household. In the near future, when political and social conservatism dominate society, Morgan inherits a big, century-old mansion in ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Tor Books (first published October 1st 2001)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
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 ·  93 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Althea Ann
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
I've anticipated reading this book for a long time. Dorsey's Black Wine was a book that I seriously loved, and kept recommending to people for years. Sadly, this book not only didn't live up to the expectations created by Black Wine, it frankly just wasn't very good. The premise sounds intriguing - an alien comes to earth to learn about humanity, and ends up in a co-op household full of non-conformists and artists. I liked a lot of the concepts - how the main character explores different types ...more
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent depiction of depression, excellent character interaction, interesting stuff on gender, a murder mystery that wandered in from some completely different book. I am not as impressed with Morgan as most of her roommates are, but it doesn't ruin things.
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
review of
Candas Jane Dorsey's A Paradigm of Earth
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - August 23, 2012

I got this bk marked down in price. It'd been marked down twice. I saw it on sale cheap at at least 2 bkstores. It seemed they were desperate to get rid of it. That's often a very good sign to me. My own bk, Not Necessarily NOT Very Important ( ), was remaindered almost immediately. I bought many of my favorite Mothers of Invention records in the cut-out bin
Brian Gaston
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a good literary book but the plot was plodding and it was a slow read.
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Although the book is basically about a first-contact experience, it isn't as science-fiction as it might sound. More about the central character finding peace, and finding herself, after her parents deaths, it turns in to a kind of a romance story.

Set in a near-future Canada where many social gains made in the last 30 years seem to have been lost, the book explores relationship negotiation among a group of people living in a communal living situation. The author never really explains what
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Amelia
Shelves: sci-fi
Wow. Dorsey is once again astounding - even more so than Black Wine. For as much as I love to read, it is the rare book that holds my attention for prolonged stretches of time. I read this one in two days.

Beautifully written, wonderful characters, great story, thematic depth, this book has everything. Dorsey's style is delightful, and would be enjoyable to read even if she didn't have much to say. It is well-crafted, well-paced, and sprinkled with captivating images and wonderful turns of
Apr 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sff, slash-interest

Problematic but original.

Morgan Sue is a little hard to take; it's inevitably going to be tricky to write from the POV of a person with depression, and the book does critique her self-involvement, a little, but not much. And the other characters are forever telling her what an inspiration she is to them or what peace she has or whatever.

I have a problem with the antagonist, John -- we're told that he does various things wrong (doesn't do his share of the chores, is very rude to Jakob the
Lorina Stephens
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
A Paradigm of Earth, by founder, and fellow SF Canada member Candas Jane Dorsey, is a remarkable work of literary science fiction.

Although the premise of first contact is not new, Dorsey brings to the discussion a complex, poetic exploration of what it means to be human. Through the characters of Blue, one of twelve aliens dropped on Earth to become the essence of humanity, and his mentor, Morgan, a woman immobilized with grief, Dorsey incarnates a story part CanLit, part SF, part crime
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Sci-Fi meets Chick-Lit
Not sure I will finish this one. The first few chapters are wading through the narrator's introspection and depression. It is starting to pick up a little bit now that the alien has made an entrance, but it still isn't very captivating or thought provoking.

OK, The library asked for the book back. I took that as a sign that I wasn't going to finish it. After 90 pages I could see where the book was going. We weren't ever going to learn anything about the aliens. Just as Morgan was reflecting on
Jul 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
'A paradigm of Earth' is set in Canada, in a dystopian near-future. It's not the type of dystopia where children have to fight each other to the death, but a rather more humdrum and believable one where social progress has gone backwards, and homosexuals are treated like deviants once more.

The main plot involves an alien who has landed on Earth to learn about humanity, and ends up being taught by a bisexual woman and her housemates, all of whom exist on the fringes of this stiflingly
Mar 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Stranger in a Strange Land
I bought this one from a catalog a few years ago and it sat on the shelf, but it turned out to be another good book to read as a young widow.

Don't read this if you have hang-ups know, sex. The main character is a lesbian and the other characters are a hodge-podge group of outcasts. She is dealing with the death of her last living parent - her father - and she kind of just starts her life over from ground zero - moves to a new place, gets a new job, meets/raises an alien, and changes
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sffantasy, glbt
Black Wine got all the awards, but I think this is almost better. She writes embodied SF in a way I've rarely seen - the characters' physical being informs the ideas and is an inextricable part of characterisation and plot. She has a very exact way of describing emotions - I kept having shocks of recognition. And it's impressive to have written a near-future not-quite-dystopia ten years ago that is even more politically and technologically realistic now than it was then.
George Manley
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
I can't say anything bad about this book, it just didn't catch my interest. I found it hard to follow.

Perhaps I should have given it more of a chance, but I followed my "give a book at least 50 pages before you toss it" rule and it failed.

Could be me and my mood right now, but this one didn't grab me. I may revisit someday.
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Candas Jane Dorsey is a Canadian and a feminist science fiction author.
Her style is inimicable, more poetry than prose, and to see the world through an alien life form, as it develops in our culture, taking on gender roles and ideals of those around "her," provides (as good SF should) great insight into our own human nature and irretrievable development.
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned
It's a three-star book in terms of quality, I think--with solid prose-level writing if not always equally solid storytelling--but I'm taking off a star because the very distant way point of view is written in it is kind of the opposite of what I tend to be looking for in a book.
Shivanee Ramlochan
May 16, 2012 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Shivanee by: McKinley
Shelves: recommendations
Recommended by McKinley M. Hellenes.
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Jan 14, 2017
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rated it it was ok
Feb 16, 2020
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Candas Jane Dorsey (born November 16, 1952) is a Canadian poet and science fiction novelist.
Born and still living in Edmonton, Alberta, Dorsey became a writer from an early age, and a freelance writer since 1980. She writes across genre boundaries, writing poetry, fiction, mainstream and speculative, short and long form, arts journalism and arts advocacy. Dorsey has also written television and