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This Island Earth (Forrest J Ackerman Presents)
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This Island Earth (Forrest J Ackerman Presents)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  39 reviews
In 1949 and 1950 a science fiction serial by Raymond F. Jones appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories. Within half a decade that serial would make history as the basis of the first science fiction movie about interstellar travel and interstellar war. The next Hollywood movie to venture to another solar system was Forbidden Planet, a wholly original construct of the prestige s ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 1st 1952 by (first published January 1st 1952)
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Bill Lynas
This may not be one of the best science fiction novels ever written, but it's a short read & is quite entertaining. There's a good plot, but I must admit that I found the 1955 film version to be far superior. ...more
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the reprint of the book that was used to make the film of the same name and i must admit I really enjoyed it - there is something about the sheer thrill of the adventure when all the modern trappings of a story are suspended and instead swapped for the what can only really be described as pulp adventure - where science, society and even human nature are suspended and instead you just go for out and out adventure. The book is surprisingly faithful to the film (ok I know its the other way ...more
Jim Dooley
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1955, Universal released THIS ISLAND EARTH, a science fiction film that never has done much for me. The basic concept was interesting, but there was so much talk and so little happening that even its relatively short running time failed to hold my interest. There was a stalking mutant creature that looked cool, yet it seemed “tacked on” to the storyline.

Despite all of that, I’ve gone back to the film every 5- to 10-years. There must be SOMETHING there for me.

Well, there was ... and it is th
Pretty good 50's sci-fi. An engineer gets involved with a company that seems to have some extraordinarily advanced equipment but whats their secret?
It occasionally approaches greatness with analogies of how small nations get used in the wars of great nations. The author also seems to have a major issue with unions. It does feel a little serial at times, there's some late developments which i'm sure weren't planned from the start.
The writing is bit simple, it also tries to keep up the mystery el
Nov 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Collected from a serialized work, this is good but not great.

First, an engineer gets tech that is unbelievably good. Very well done, the story fits the engineer mindset. Later, he encounters mysteries in the business. This part was a bit slow. We also encounter the female lead, a combination of smart and ignored. I wanted to see her psychology degree more in the story. Towards the end, an anti-union bit that barely fits in, and finally a rushed finish to the tale.

I remember the first part of the
Interesting, but the end felt more like the author just stopped writing than anything else, leaving me rather disappointed.
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the basis for my favorite sf film when I was a kid; the film is fairly faithful to the first part of the book. It wasn't any kind of a great literary classic, but it sure was great fun. ...more
Jay Goemmer
Jones' 1952 novel is the basis for the 1955 movie of the same name. As is often the case, the movie bears little resemblance to the book. (But for the record, that's not always a bad thing.)

Jones' narrative is more slowly paced than the movie's is. Two-thirds of the way through, he takes a major swipe against union labor, which his characters say allows incompetent workers to hang onto their jobs just because they're union members, even if they can't do the work they're assigned. (Jones' viewpoi
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding! I loved this book. My only regret is that I waited so long to read it. I always assumed the movie and the book were close to the same thing but once you get past the interocitor bit early on, the story goes off in a totally different direction. Thinking about it, I'm not sure Hollywood could have done the book justice to pursue carrying out the story as written. Instead, they took the early interesting parts and then greatly simplified the story. I am usually against remaking films ...more
Simon Ford
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not exactly like the classic motion picture, which was a pleasant surprise, and a slight disappointment.
The film itself, of its time, is thoroughly enjoyable, in which scientists are enticed, coerced into aiding aliens in a war to save their planet from destruction.
The book has most of the film in its covers and much more, it expands the story of the alien war that is a galaxy spanning conflict and of course was totally un-filmable @ that time. The characters have a bit more depth than the scree
Sep 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those rare cases in which the movie is better than the book. I've always loved the famous b-movie that this book gave birth to. Frankly, I had no idea there was a book so when I found it, I picked it up and gave it a spin. I liked some of the ideas and, frankly, some things were far more realistic in the book. The backstory was obviously richer and the characters better drawn. But that said, it couldn't compete with the very-different movie. Perhaps it's not the fault of the autho ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I cannot believe that 60 years after first seeing the movie, I finally stumbled on the book. Magical, that 1950's science fiction.

A couple of years ago I actually stumbled on the movie, and watched it again, too. Good movie, for the times. I'm too old and jaded now to see it as I did all those years ago, though; it was magical then, and just quaint now.

But the book--that has staying power. From an almost trivial opening to the sweep of an intergalactic war, fitted out with poignant musings of th
Steve Wasling
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, aside from the opening section and a couple of scenes this is almost nothing like the classic film (YMMV!) I grew up with. The story in the original novel actually turns out to be much more interesting and complex, though of course it always extremely obvious in which era it was written.

Not only am I glad I read this, I'm now disappointed that a more faithful version of the story wasn't filmed, though I did keep waiting for Exeter to turn up! Still, on the plus side many more Interocitors!
Long Island Reader
Classic science fiction

Some science fiction ages better than others. This Island Earth has aged like a fine wine. Much of the technology has changed, but in the other hand the Alien technology is still way above our own. The book is a classic, and still well worth reading.
Michael Yourshaw
Nov 25, 2015 rated it liked it
A decent Golden Age of science fiction novel, stitched together from three shorter pieces. The fist third is clever and suspenseful, the rest is ho-hum space opera.
Kieran McAndrew
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An apparently mixed up order of engineering components is actually an alien intelligence test for humanity's place in the wider galaxy.

Jones' novel holds its place well in the wider genre of atomic paranoid novels, but its cleverness is in realising the curiosity of the human engineers who know that they can replicate items from the components without the instructions.
Doctor Moss
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I’ve always wanted an interociter.

The movie version of This Island Earth has been a staple of science fiction movies on television for a very long time. It’s even been immortalized by Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. I didn’t even know that the movie was based on a book from one of the “golden ages” of science fiction.

It’s a pretty simple story by science fiction standards, but it’s fun to read, keeping in mind that this is 1940s-1950s science fiction.

The novel was originally published
When I saw "This Island Earth" at the Roxy Theatre in downtown Tacoma in the summer of 1955, I had no idea that it was based on a book. Raymond F. Jones wrote mainly science-fiction fantasy stuff for pulp magazines but also a dozen novels, of which "This Island Earth" was by far the best known. Franklin Coen's screenplay starts out following the novel, scene by scene, but then veers wildly in new directions about two thirds of the way through. The book's less-than-exciting conclusion is almost u ...more
Craig Comes
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In 1952, filming Raymond F Jones' epic "This Island Earth," as published, would have been impossible. The finished movie would have run several hours and required SFX technologies decades ahead of what was then available. So the studio took the first half and distilled it down in a manner similar to James Michener's "Tales of the South Pacific."

That said, "This Island Earth" deserves much wider distribution. Jones has written a pulp classic that demands either a sequel or a 21st Century reboot.
Arthur Pierce
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rather liked this book, after a fashion. I'm no scientist, and I found the scientific elements convincing (but not overwhelming), as was the general plotting. We eventually wind up in a fantastic place, but getting there is gradual enough that it doesn't strain the credibility. Characterization is limited, but I found the story to be consistently intriguing and unpredictable, and that was enough to sustain my interest throughout. ...more
Earl Orcutt
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An old friend

I first encountered “This Island Earth” as a book report project in fourth grade. I had to keep referring to the book to spell the strange names and devices. It literally ignited my lifelong love of science fiction. It spawned a classic film in the late fifties, and remains a classic of mid twentieth century Sci-Fi. It is just as satisfying today as it was fifty years ago. Who knows? Flying saucers my still exist!
Gregg Blankenship
Much more explanatory of the title.

The movie was great, but it relied on special effects. The book was almost totally different, but even better. You never knew the reason for the title "This Island Earth", but the book explains it! In the movie, the Earth was never in danger. But it sure was here. Cal and Ruth save the entire Earth!
Reg Franklin
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far one of my favorite science fiction novels of all time. The ideas it posits regarding alien life are thought provoking, even if the ideas about humanity can be somewhat cynical. An improvement upon the film, an underrated classic, and one that should be studied in any university course curriculum.
Muhammad Alfaro
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donald Franck
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Island Earth

Someone once said that no man is an island and that is true of Earth as well. I've never seen this storyline before but it forms the basis of a great movie classic. I'm glad I read this book and hope others find it of interest.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed reading the book. The fact that this book predates Starwars and Startrek really fascinates me. The language is simple and yet elegant. Characters are described in details. Enjoyed the chemistry between Cal and Ruth. Overall a positive reading experience.!!!
Chris Bull
Jun 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Written in the early 1950s and shows it’s age. The earth is saved in 5 pages by our hero and we never are the wiser. Some Men in Black moments including a light which induces amnesia.
Mark H
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of great interest for inspiring the 1955 film. But the story is disappointing for not describing the alien planet or spending much time there! Middle section gets bogged down in Interocitor production and labour relations! Rushed ending just when things were getting interesting.
Joe Griffith
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Sci-fi read. Much better than the universal pic!

With the exception of a few sexist slants. Typical of the period it was written in. Also a much more believable perspective on interstellar war.
Richard Dominguez
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shared, reviewed
This is a very good Sci-fi story, that throws a new light on the motivations possible behind alien life and its connection to us or our planet. The story spawned a now classic film by the same name, that is also a great view.
If you haven't read "This Island Earth" it should be on your TBR list
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Raymond Fisher Jones (November 15, 1915, Salt Lake City, Utah - January 24, 1994, Sandy, Salt Lake County, Utah) was an American science fiction author. He is best known for his 1952 novel, This Island Earth, which was adapted into the 1955 film This Island Earth and for the short story "The Children's Room", which was adapted for television as Episode Two of the ABC network show Tales of Tomorrow ...more

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