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The Man Who Fell to Earth

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  6,685 ratings  ·  694 reviews
T.J. Newton is an extraterrestrial who goes to Earth on a desperate mission of mercy. But instead of aid, Newton discovers loneliness and despair that ultimately ends in tragedy.
Paperback, 209 pages
Published September 28th 1999 by Del Rey (first published February 1963)
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BoBandy I could not have been added by him in 1999 because he was dead.

The Del Rey Impact paperback edition says the book was copyrighted 1963 by Tevis and r…more
I could not have been added by him in 1999 because he was dead.

The Del Rey Impact paperback edition says the book was copyrighted 1963 by Tevis and renewed 1991 by his widow.

So either it was updated by the editors for the 1991 copyright, or the copyright notice is incorrect.

Glad I found this question here. It bugged the hell out of me when I read that paragraph.

Can anyone with an earlier edition respond with what the original paragraph said?(less)
Kenneth Lynch Looked at my 1963 edition, The "Gold Medal Original" Published by Frederick Muller Limited London. By arrangement with Fawcett Publications Inc. Chapt…moreLooked at my 1963 edition, The "Gold Medal Original" Published by Frederick Muller Limited London. By arrangement with Fawcett Publications Inc. Chapter 8 last paragraph page 121 had the following " ...1976 is an election year. The President is already campaigning for a second term ... did you know that the President uses us, in the CIA, to spy on the other party? - that the Republicans are going to turn this whole business into something like the Dreyfus case" No mention of Watergate in the original.(less)

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Sam Quixote
The Man Who Fell to Earth is my second Walter Tevis novel and unfortunately I didn’t like it anywhere near as much as I did The Queen’s Gambit.

Superficially it’s a sci-fi novel: the protagonist is Thomas Jerome Newton, an alien from the planet Anthea (Venus?), who comes to Earth to make enough money to build a rocketship to send back home and bring his people over to water-rich Earth. Alright, fine, that’s the premise and, very loosely, the plot. What it is in actuality? About a sad and lonely
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, pre-80s-sf
“The man was very odd. Tall, thin, with white hair and a fine, delicate bone structure. He had smooth skin and a boyish face – but the eyes were very strange, as though they were weak, over-sensitive, yet with a look that was old and wise and tired.”

In short, he looks a lot like this:

Ground control to Major Thomas?

The eponymous Man Who Fell to Earth is one Thomas Jerome Newton, a rather commonplace name, not alienesque like Xarx or something along that line. Of course, his real name is very unli
Jodi Lu
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
I had nearly forgotten why people start reading in the first place: the joy of an honest story. I'm so used to the writer as the essential protagonist, the writing as his conflict, and whether or not I want to throw away his book as his comedic or tragic end. But this just unfolds cleanly, without seeming consciously written at all. Never an "ohhh that was beautiful" and very rarely a distracting wince. I got deeply engaged without any self-discipline at all.
It's lightening-quick and so satisfy
Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
no ray guns are fired or space battles waged in this poignant novel. there is a spaceship yes, but it is incapacitated after it deposits its passenger on earth. the passenger is an alien from a dying planet named anthea and he's looking for an escape - a place for the remnants of his people. his name on earth will be t.j. newton (sometimes called tommy) and this novel is his story, of how our world affects him, physically and emotionally, as he tries to achieve his mission.

there's not much more
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. This a deceptively simple story, told in simple, uncomplicated prose, but with unexpected depth and relevance. It might come off as slightly trite now, as with most mid-20th century fiction set in "the near future" (the late 1980s, of all things!), but I'm sure in 1963 it was truly a sign of the times. What I'm sure hasn't lost its charge over the years is the tint of sadness, of individualized despair, that permeates the book and ultimately embitters the characters. No one escapes th ...more
Jul 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sfmasterworks, scifi
SF Masterworks (2010- series) #81: A story with multiple points of view of an alien invasion, by one alien, Thomas Jerome Newton. What does he want, why does he need to amass huge sums of money? What happened when Newton met alcohol? And what happens to alien surrounded by billions of children, the human race? A deceptively simple, action-less and short story that uses science fiction to tell a very human story, that of alcoholism, loneliness and mankind's knowing walk to global self-destruction ...more
Liz Janet
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This novel follows an extraterrestrial, arriving on Earth to see if he can find a way to bring his drought suffering people into the planet so that they might live.
This is one of my favourite science-fiction classics, and is truly worth the read, as an exploration, not only of science, but of the human nature and politics. We get a deep understanding of the main character, as he suffers for being an alien in a planet that will hurt him if they discover who he is, and the pressure of thinking of
M.L. Rio
How you could read this and NOT cast David Bowie in the movie I have no idea
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Only came to this book through a winding road of Valis by PKD in his description of David Bowie in the novel. PKD was influenced by Bowie in the movie "The man who fell to earth". I watched, thought it was interesting, and THEN finally read the novel, which, I'm sure most people will agree, was a lot better than the movie. That being said, I did like the book quite a bit, being an outsider type of novel with a lot to say about those earthling aliens. Fun read and well done, well worth being a cl ...more
3.5 to 4.0 stars. I really struggled between giving this 3 or 4 stars and settled closer to 4 for one primary reason: the ending of the story was deeply emotional and I believe will stay with me for some time. Apart from the excellent ending, the rest of the story was well-written, moved along at a good pace and kept me interested.
MJ Nicholls
Ashes to ashes, funk to funky, we know Major Thom’s a drunkard, strung out in heaven’s high, hitting an all-time low . . .
Timothy Urges
I was afraid of you then. I am afraid of you now. I have been afraid of all manner of things every moment I have spent on this planet, on this monstrous, beautiful, terrifying planet with all its strange creatures and its abundant water, and all of its human people. I am afraid now. I will be afraid to die here.
Rachel (Kalanadi)
This is sad, and every single character has a drinking problem (the book should come doused in the scent of gin), but it was also really good.
Bryce Wilson
Jun 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature, sci-fi
The literary equivilant of a flower growing through a block of cement. The characterization is clumsy, obvious and in the case of the gin soaked country woman straight out of "Lady For A Day" borders on self parody. The social commentary is sometimes bizarre such as when our alien friend ruminates on the pros and cons of The Welfare State and sometimes obvious with it's JESUS WAS TEH ALIEN subtext. And lordy if you don't think that a book as slight as 160 pages can be overwritten within an inch ...more
Ian G
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi

Very original for it's day and still. A well written and very different take on first contact. Bottom line, don't mess around with the humans...they're nasty.
Bizarre, trippy mid-60s book that was made into a bizarre, trippy mid-70s movie. I'm reluctant to even call this a work of science fiction; it's more a work of psychological fiction told via a sci-fi setting. In some ways, it also reminds me of Cold War spy fiction, like the TV show "The Americans" - focusing not so much on action as what happens to foreigners/aliens who spend years learning how to pass as humans/Americans, but then can't quite pull it off, or reconcile their mission with their ...more
Faroukh Naseem
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Where will you go....with the money?"
"Maybe to the Pacific, to Tahiti. We'll probably take an air-conditioner with us."
#theguywiththebookreview presents: The man who fell to Earth.
This book is going to stay with me for a long time. Not because of great/good/pleasing writing but because I expect it to have many layers which will unearth themselves when I talk about it.‎ Some moments of sheer frustration at our hapless nature gripped me by the end. The book was very effective in conveying a mess
Bridgit Morgan
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Who would have thought that a book about an alien coming to Earth could be so sad?? I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
Erik Graff
Oct 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sf fans, those interested in the Bowie movie
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Picked this one up somewhere in Edison Park, Chicago, my home in Park Ridge being right across Canfield/Ozanam from the city limits. Read it on the same day I, rarely satisfied under our household's strict food regimen, bought my first real food, a can of black olives.

The Man Who Fell to Earth was one of the saddest books I'd ever read at the time. Its protagonist's good intentions towards us, the extremity under which his own species had found itself and his great loneliness were all very movin
Raegan Butcher
Apr 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: aliens and drunks or drunk aliens
Simply fantastic. This is one of the most heartbreaking novels written in the past 50 years.
Bryn Hammond
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: imagined-fiction
This is the cover I had because Bowie. Read this more than once because Bowie. It suited him.
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've discovered this book completely by chance (having heard of the film but never seen it) and absolutely fell in love with it. Often the book or a movie are being referred to as classic and it has to do more with their age than their contents, this book however is a fine example of a real scifi classic, one that teaches us something about ourselves through a different perspective. If there were no dates in the book at all (dates that might have seemed like a future back when the novel was writ ...more
Jim Cherry
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Author Walter Tevis said of his book “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, it was the most autobiographical of all his books. At first that seems totally absurd, how is a novel about an alien who comes to the earth with the mission of saving his own planet autobiographical? Then you read it, and with a bit of biographical information it makes sense.

“The Man Who Fell to Earth” is the story of Thomas Newton, an alien who appears in Kentucky, he has a pocketful of gold rings and a mind full of inventions th
On the outside, The Man Who Fell to Earth is about Thomas Jerome Newton, an alien from the planet Anthea, who has come to Earth seeking salvation for the last of his people but it's really about being alone inside your own skin and struggling to feel connected to anyone or anything before you die.

Walter Tevis takes a subject that has been overdone, ooh a spaceship and an alien EXCITING!, and makes his own unique brand of sociopolitical science fiction. The lyrical descriptions mesh well with the
Chris Greensmith
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"He began to see a kind of beauty in the strangeness of the field, too. It was quite different from what he had been taught to expect —as he had already discovered, were many of the things in this world—yet there was pleasure for him now in its alien colors and textures, its new sights and smells. In sounds, too; for his ears were very acute and he heard many strange and pleasant noises in the grass, the diverse rubbings and clickings of those insects that had survived the cold weather of ear ...more
Dec 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who finds alcoholics fascinating
Shelves: science-fiction
The problem with this book is that author must have thought that the only way to make a person seem deep is to make them an alcoholic--alcoholism defines all three main characters in the book. It's like an actor who finally wins an academy award after playing a drunk (when it is probably the easiest part to play). The vast majority of interactions in the book include drinking, which Tevis describes in painstaking detail, over and over again--what they are drinking, how they are drinking it, what ...more
Lorenzo Berardi

As a non native English speaker, I discovered the adjective 'poignant' only six years ago thanks to a Canadian friend (thanks, Vicky). She chose it to comment a photo I took involving a bowler hat hanging from a chair while an out of focus blonde girl in the background stood on her toes to take off a branch of autumn leaves from the frame of a mirror over a washbasin.
To be honest with you, the photo was nothing special. Perhaps my friend was ironic. Or maybe not.

What I know is that from that day
Willy Boy
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great - if you love the movie, read it, it stands as a great book in it's own right, it has a life of it's own. If you didn't like the movie, the same applies.

It has (as the title suggests) an elegant parable-like simplicity, and contains an elegiac meditation on loss, of home, of potential, friendship, family ... Matters of conspiracy and corporate-politico hanky panky are touched upon. Placing an extra terrestrial in a contemporary setting lends the book a timeless quality (some with prejudic
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
It was only after reading a chapter or two that I realised I had previously read another book by this author, Mockingbird. Although I had very much enjoyed that novel when I read it, it hadn't occurred to me to check out anything else the author had written and, although dimly aware of this book for many years (also being a Bowie fan) I hadn't connected the two.

Anyhow, there are probably a number of similarities between the two books. The author's dim view of humanity's prospects in the future f
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
An interesting slice of the "classic" sci-fi canon (although plenty would disagree), and I can't explain why I never got around to it before. This is an entertaining enough, quirky (and, yes, slender) book, originally published in the 1960's (1963), but set primarily in the 1980's (and dipping, somewhat briefly, into the 1990's). It's relatively thought-provoking although, I have to assume, it must have seemed far more fresh, creative, and "out there" 50+ years ago.

The book is surprisingly mode
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Walter Stone Tevis was an American novelist and short story writer. Three of his six novels were adapted into major films: The Hustler, The Color of Money and The Man Who Fell to Earth. His books have been translated into at least 18 languages.

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