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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,189 ratings  ·  214 reviews
The last known human searches the galaxy for companionship in a brilliant standalone novel from the legendary author of the Pip & Flinx series.

Once Homo sapiens reigned supreme, spreading from star system to star system in an empire that encountered no alien life and thus knew no enemy . . . save itself. As had happened many times before, the basest, most primal human
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Del Rey Books
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Reggie Martell Yes, I believe it would.

Pro: It deals with some big and challenging themes. It's decidedly PG, if that's a concern.

Potential Con: YA readers wont…more
Yes, I believe it would.

Pro: It deals with some big and challenging themes. It's decidedly PG, if that's a concern.

Potential Con: YA readers wont identify with any of the characters in this book. (less)

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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,189 ratings  ·  214 reviews

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Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Originally posted at:

In Alan Dean Foster’s new novel, Relic, there is only one known human left in the universe. Ruslan is found by the alien Myssari, wandering the crumbling wasteland of his home planet Seraboth after a super virus called the Aura Malignance wiped out all other human life from every human occupied system in the galaxy. The worst part is, the virus was engineered by humans as a kind of doomsday weapon, which, it would appear, lived up to
Alan Dean Foster's "Relic" is a decent book that's marred by many inconsistencies. At first, I thought those inconsistencies might have been because the book was one of Foster's earlier works. But, it turns out that the book is brand new (published in 2018). So, I have no idea why Foster built them into the thing. In general, the writing is fine and the story interesting (though some of the alien behavior is a bit silly and cliche). But, the inconsistencies just drive my rating down to only an ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Been meaning to check out this guy for a while. Kind of mostly associate him with all the novelizations, but Foster is nothing if not productive, his body of work is genuinely ginormous and he’s been at it for considerably longer than I’ve been alive, so yeah…lots of books, mostly as mentioned novelizations and serials. I’m not interested in either, but when his latest standalone appeared on Netgalley, it was meant to be. And it was good. A sure sign of the book’s quality for me is whether it ...more
Lupine Smile
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
The writing was good and the concept was good, but the story just never got off the ground for me. It was like reading the back of a cereal box, something to look at while you are doing something else.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Decent enough science fiction from Alan Dean Foster. There is nothing particularly groundbreaking about the 'last man' concept, and some of the plot here left me scratching my head (ages of those involved for instance, saying no more because of spoilers but if you read it you'll know what I mean).
However, a relatively satisfying way to spend an afternoon.
Jon Adams
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm still contemplating this one.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I haven’t read any sci-fi books in 15 years and the only other books I read by Alan Dean Foster (who is a best-selling author of over a hundred books) back in the day were Quozl (From Amazon - Rabbitlike aliens from outer space colonize Earth during humankind’s WWII in a delightfully funny and thought-provoking sci-fi adventure) and Glory Lane (From Amazon - Seeth, Miranda, and Kerwin discover that the fate of the universe is in their hands following a bizarre encounter with an alien at a ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf, fiction
This book has some serious issues, mankind is alone in the universe err... except for at least one set of natives we forgot about. And less than 100 years after the magic plague kills everyone but one survivor, humanspace becomes swarmed with other alien races. There's some other hokey stuff, but it would be a major spoiler if I discussed them. I was tossed up if I should rate this as a 1 star, but some of the alien interaction was decent. A marginally OK read, I recommend trying almost any ...more
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I will be the first to admit that I've never read an Alan Dean Foster book before, despite being an Alien acolyte and longtime science fiction fan; reading Relic was a kind of necessary catch-up. I'll keep my review short, as I'm sure others have long ago beaten me to the dystopic futuristic punch, but suffice it to say: I understand why Foster is so important to the world of science fiction, and I understand too why his writing style (assuming that there's continuity there with the books I've ...more
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
In Relic, Alan Dean Foster tells the story of the last human being in the universe. Humans have expanded to multiple planets by the time they engineer a virus that is able to kill all humans across the galaxy save for Ruslan, a middle-management type who wanders his doomed planet alone before being discovered by another intelligent species from far off in the universe. The aliens are set on re-populating the worlds with a new generation of humans in the name of science and knowledge, but Ruslan ...more
Christine Lowe
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Alan Dean Foster is an extraordinary writer who continues to surprise this reader after 25 years of reading his work. His imagination and research combined makes for interesting reading. I was happy to see his latest book #Relic available as an ARC on #NetGalley. What a satisfying story.

Imagine a virus that attacks only humans and every human it attacks it kills. You watch your family, your friends, your neighbors as they die from this virus. It is so lethal, it kills every human on earth and
Jenni Frencham
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ruslan is the last surviving human. A genetically engineered virus, meant as a tool of war, has wiped out the rest of the human population across the universe. The aliens who are keeping him alive want his help as they clone additional humans in order to prevent extinction. In exchange, he has asked to see Earth, the origin planet of humanity that has long been lost from memory. Along the way as they search for clues about Earth's location, they hear rumors of other surviving humans on other ...more
Bob Reiss
Sep 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Overall it was enjoyable twist on the last man in earth concept with lots of interesting science fiction explorations but lacked enough focus to make it truly suck you in. In the end it felt more like an outline for a great series instead of one in its own right. Narrator Marc Thompson gives a strong performance particularly in allowing you to feel the emotions of the main character and voicing the alien species.
Desmond Burke
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I really enjoyed the story but he might have been a bit more concise. There were quite a few spots when the action needed to move ahead briskly, but he ground out details that didn't help. The story, however, was interesting and fun. I'd read a sequel, if one exists.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
An interesting idea but a boring read, in my opinion.
Robin Bonne
Nov 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
DNF @ 37%. Too many plot holes.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read for January book group.

This wasn't quite what I expected. I either didn't read the jacket blurb or I forgot what the jacket blurb said. What I thought I was getting into was the Unidentified Object In Space theme.

What I got was a moderately interesting story about Ruslan, purportedly the last human alive after the Aura Malignace virus swept through humanity, killing every human on every human settled planet. Why Ruslan was immune, he doesn't know. Ruslan was found by the Mysarri, a gentle
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sifi, arc, zzz-lookup
3.5 stars, rounded up for an innovative story idea.
Ruslan is the sole human survivor of a disease that claimed every human on every human settled planet. He is rescued by an alien race that assists him in a quest to find other survivors in exchange for his knowledge of the human species.
This was an innovative story line that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The Good:
Meeting two interesting alien species and a few new worlds.
New discoveries of other survivors (or maybe not), some tension between the alien
Dave Milbrandt
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this story, which is as much a space story as it is a homecoming tale. The protagonist has a nice story arc and the ending was unexpected and quite interesting.
This was a fun book to read; I think it was better than I anticipated or expected. The majority of the books I have read by this author have been movie adaptations; I also read Cachlot, too, and that was not what I expected (from what I remember). In any case, it starts out pretty slow, and it has some moments of, "How does that work again?" Overall, though, it had a good flow. It held my interest throughout the entire book, which was a plus, as well.

It was interesting to read, because it felt
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've read a lot by Alan Dean Foster. I enjoy his science fiction stories, no great concepts, but he is a good world-builder, which I appreciate. For me, his best work is set in the universe of The Humanx Commonwealth, with many of his books featuring a youth named Flinx. "Relic" is a stand-alone and not set in that universe. The relic of the title is the last human, a man named "Ruslan." A genetically engineered virus has wiped out humanity--not only on Earth, but on all the planets colonized ...more
Jeff Miller
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story involves possibly the last surviving human because of a human created bio-engineered virus. An alien race wants to study him and to bring back the human race. His condition is that they find Earth, purposely lost in the records to protect it.

An enjoyable story overall as two competing alien races tries to take control of him. Some aspects of the story progress as you might expect. I also liked the slight humor involved in the story.
Claudia Putnam
Oct 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf
2.75 Based on blurb I expected more evolutionary biology re aliens not to mention ethnography. Also wouldn't each human society have been very different and spoken different languages? Timelines for plague were unclear. Seemed instantaneous but sometimes there apparently was more time. How was there enough time for all those preparations on Earth? And did they say they'd lost contact w Earth for 10k years? Yet the plague seemed more fast moving and recent than that. So, weird. Finally, ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
A page turner this is not. I've ready one other Alan Dean Foster book and I don't know of it's a coincidence, but I'm just not a fan of his writing style. RELIC is about the supposed last human named Ruslan. A scientific race promised to help find the "mythical" Earth in exchange for his genetic material to try and revive humanity. But one of my biggest questions was, to a more advanced race than humanity, in the far future, how could Earth be so mysterious and unknown? The story never explains ...more
Review Copy

In RELIC Alan Dean Foster does what he has so well for over 40 years: created brand new alien species and new environments and plots to contain them.

Foster is known for writing series - from his early days of the Spellsinger, Icerigger and Pip & Flinx series to the all encompassing Humanx Commonwealth - RELIC is unlike all of these. It is a standalone novel that is quite enthralling in its complexity. It boasts a slow build up to an explosive end that I found stunning and
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A master story teller ... at his best. Man has finally done it - killed his species with the release of a biological weapon (intentional or accidental being immaterial) that crosses intergalactic distances to complete its grim task, leaving no survivors. And yet there is one. ONE. Encountered by an alien, tripodal species, he becomes a treasured specimen of the once grand and widespread human species. A living encyclopedia what and what for as former human occupied worlds are discovered and ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good romp and exploration of the idea of being the last human alive in the galaxy ... or not. Probably inspired by a sense of the futility of ever hoping humankind will *ever* get it right, stop being destructive. As usual, excellent job of depicting intelligent non-human life, physically and societally. Those who have stopped reading Foster because of his lackluster output in the late 1990s-2010 should pick this one up and enjoy a renewed vitality in his writing and love of language. Best thing ...more
Libby Beyreis
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. Despite an interesting premise, the story completely failed to draw me in. I felt like I was reading an outline of the eventual story, rather than a completed book. The characters were two-dimensional, the plot was minimal, and any conflict was quickly and predictably resolved. The entire story felt like the main character - tired, old, and disillusioned; waiting grimly for the end.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
While Alan Dean Foster is undoubtedly a fine author, Relic seemed like a project he may have taken on just for the paycheck. I’m not saying that it was bad, it just wasn’t all that good. I didn’t really get to know the main character. I didn’t feel like I knew what he was thinking or how he would react to stimuli in the story. I think the main reason I didn’t fall in love this book was because the premise of the story was so far removed from any of my experiences that I did not feel a connection ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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
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“Two surviving human beings on the entire planet, Ruslan thought, and they can’t stand each other. A fitting metaphor for the entire species.” 0 likes
“It was left to San’dwil to sum up the totality of the attempt. “So you can make the bodies live but cannot bring back consciousness.” Wol’daeen gestured affirmatively. “It is most exasperating. The resurrected forms have all the appearance of life but none of the necessary cognitive functions.” 0 likes
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