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The Seeds of Earth

(Humanity's Fire #1)

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  3,025 ratings  ·  256 reviews
The first intelligent species to Earth attacked without warning, and only three colony ships escaped. 150 years later, planet Darien hosts humans at peace with indigenous scholarly Uvovo. Buried on the forest moon are secrets of an epic battle between ancient races. In a galactic war, what will Uvovo choose, when their nature is revealed, and the enemy comes?
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Orbit (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.41  · 
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Dirk Grobbelaar

And he awoke to the steel pains of his aged, wounded body, lying on a cold seabed on an alien world in an alien universe.

There is a clear divide here, as far as the reviews are concerned. Some people really enjoyed this novel, while others, well, really didn’t. I’d read some of the reviews before starting Seeds of Earth, so I was actively on the lookout for reasons to dislike it, but surprisingly didn’t find any. True, the first third of the book isn’t paced as hastily as some might like, but it
Sep 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
I very nearly gave up on this book. While the setting and overall plot seem full of potential (a small human colony regains contact with the greater galaxy and immediately becomes the centre of a power struggle between multiple forces), the author just did such a terrible job of making the characters interesting, of sticking to a plot section for more than a few pages or of making things cohesive that I found myself pushing to the end of the book just to see whether he'd actually resolve anythin ...more
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A mixture of IM Banks gonzo imagination and KJ Anderson Seven Suns saga style, The Seeds of Earth is a fast adventure oriented space opera with aliens of all stripes and shapes though all are "humanlike" in the grand old tradition, tiers of hyperspace, joke-cracking characters and all around fun.

Black and white villains and heroes and no character truly worth remembering so far, but so what, the novel is a lot of fun and I am looking forward to the next book.

Harking back to the 80's and 90's spa
Elijs Dima
May 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
Yeah, that quote from Iain Banks on this book's cover? ...No. Just no.

With that out of the way: This book is not, on the whole, a good read.
The writing style is cumbersome and annoying, lacking a natural flow and descriptive elements. Every sentence is stuffed to bursting with non-words for made-up concepts, even though the author does not spend any effort in making you as a reader to connect with the concept.
The ideas forming the universe and story are bland and iterative. Cobley does not brin
Apr 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
Iain M banks is one of my all time favourite authors and he's quoted on the front of the copy of this book - "Proper galaxy spanning Space Opera"

The only way this can make any sense is if the original quote was something like "If this guy thinks he can write proper galaxy spanning space opera then he is seriously delusional"
Jan 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 29, 2012 added it
I tried, I really did. Early on I thought that I'd stumbled on that typical bad book by an author who wants to provide profound insights veiled behind a fast-paced genre plot. But there was Iain Banks on the cover saying it was "proper galaxy spanning space opera" so I persevered. All the wy to page 51 where I read

"'This is your zinsilu, Scholar,' said the Pathmaster, as if Chel's inner thoughts were clear as written words. ' A zinsilu such as has not been seen for a thousand generations. Schola
Oct 11, 2013 rated it liked it
I have made no secret of the fact that Science Fiction is my favorite genre. It is also the genre about which I am the pickiest. I like a certain type of Science Fiction. Julie E. Czerneda, David Brin, and Elizabeth Bear are my favorites, and I’ve generally been really pleased with everything I’ve read from Orbit Publishing. Strong characters and a well developed world are vital; the actual science is secondary to me. If you tell a strong story with an emphasis on character and world building I ...more
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Any book recommended by Iain M. Banks has got to be worth a read and this one was worth it. The first in a trilogy – Humanity's Fire – it tells the story of a human community escaped from a doomed Earth making their way on an alien planet. Living alongside it's indigenous peoples when suddenly they are discovered by outside aliens and their world, their history and their future begins to unravel... ...more
Oct 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Seeds of the Earth is the first in a new space opera series by Michael Cobley. The cover features a nice one line quote from space opera master Iain M. Banks describing the novel as “Proper galaxy-spanning space opera.” A statement that couldn’t be more true. Seeds of the Earth is very old school with a large cast of characters and a diverse and wonderfully vibrant phalanx of ideas that makes for an great read and excellent starting point in jumping from my epic fantasy reading of November into ...more
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I would probably give this 4.5 stars to be accurate. It was pretty fantastic all around, especially if you love Space Opera! The brief plot burb, that of 'First contact wasn't supposed to be like this...resulting in earth sending three colony ships to the stars to try and survive' is what drew me in. But...there is sooooo much more to this book.

The characters are all pretty great and decently flushed out for such a large cast. The multitude of alien species is wonderful as well. The book jumps
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Every opera needs a cast list, and this first-in-a-trilogy Space Opera needs one. That written, it's a good read, though occasionally uneven in terms of pacing. Without giving anything away, the universe is teeming with sentients, mostly jerks intent on maximizing profit, political reach and control, and generally thinking of numero uno. Humans are on both sides of the line, including the sidelines, and are usually in the wrong place at the most painful times. Every science fiction element, exce ...more
Carl Timms
I really wanted to like this, I really did. It had so many elements that I should love in a ook- ancient intergalactic threat reawakened, lost earth colonies, galactic empires at war, weird alternate dimensions.

But somehow it just didn't work for me. There was a bit of Babylon 5, a bit of Avatar, a bit of Mass Effect and a lot of Star Wars. That should be rgeat but somehow it just didn't gel and worst of all, it bored me. Unfortunately I've seen reviews for part 2 and it doesn't look like things
Kara Babcock
This book landed on my to-read list in 2009, and I remembered nothing about it when I finally tracked it down at my library. (For a while, I actually owned a used copy in the UK, but it went missing. Very mysterious. I suspect the AIs had something to do with it.) As I started reading Seeds of Earth, I wanted to dislike it. I wanted to find faults with it. Disappointingly that didn’t happen; frustratingly I found myself drawn into the story and Michael Cobley’s intricate depiction of a multivers ...more
Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a great Swarm of aliens attack Earth, three colony ships jump into hyperspace to parts unknown. The Swarm is defeated back home and Earth begins to explore and meet with other alien races. All the time there is the question of what happened to the colony ships. One of those ships, the Hyperion, has landed safely on the planet Darien (called Umara by the natives) with a forested moon. At the time of their landing, the ship's AI rebelled and had to be overcome by the colonists; this leads to a ...more
4 and a half stars, really.

Really fun, engaging space opera which packs EVERYTHING into one story: machines vs organics, alien races both good and evil (and neutral), human resistance, space chases/battles, ancient alien ruins, sentient forests, politics, AI/droid characters with tons of personality, and more. It's a lot like Mass Effect, entirely in good ways. Cobley has created a living universe with lots of action and intrigue.

It's not entirely perfect though. The writing is mostly just funct
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I bought “Seeds of Earth” on Veterans day 29th of July 2013 at the American Book Center in The Hague. De shop manager gave me 10% discount “only for Veterans”. Thank you again!

I really do like the writing style of Micheal Cobley. Easy to read and also compelling as well as character driven. However sometimes Micheal Cobles misses the chance to further develop the characters. Meet a score of humans, aliens and AI’s:
• Holger Sundstrom
• Vitaly Pyatkov
• Donny Barbour
• John Balfour
• Theodore Karlsso
Jan 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads, my-books
Seeds of Earth is as powerful as Smoke on the Water (by Deep Purple), as twisted as Paranoid (by Black Sabbath) and as epic as Stairway to Heaven bY Led Zeppelin).

As a lover of epic fantasy I tell you that is the kind of space opera I want to read. For me it is epic fantasy in future. I recommend it! Give it a go....

Read my full review over at Only The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy.
David Firmage
Jan 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Just could not get into the book, seemed to be very fragmented. Another left at my Wetherspoons book swap. Someone else may fall in love with it.
Dec 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Good story, and made up of zillions of short chapters that, often as not, advance the plot barely, if at all. Might read one of the sequels to see if the pace picks up.
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took a while, but having finished it I can definitely say this book was completely worth reading. You see, I've reached this supremely depressing point of my life where books almost never impress me. I used to love reading, and if asked I would say I still do, but for some reason unless a book is just fantastic, I will have absolutely no drive to keep reading it whatsoever, even if I know for a fact that I'm enjoying it. So as to not give you the wrong impression, I will say now that by the e ...more
Fantasy Literature
3 stars from Marion, read the full review at FANTASY LITERATURE

It Happened One Doomsday is the first book I’ve read by Laurence MacNaughton. It looks like most of his other work would be classified as supernatural thrillers, although Conspiracy of Angels has a definite urban fantasy vibe. It Happened One Doomsday lands on the border of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, with a brisk plot and characters who are, for the most part, likeable. The story relies on the old biblical story of the Fou
Don Viecelli
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
From My Newsletter #36:

I found a new three book series to read called Humanity’s Fire. The author is named Michael Cobley. Book One is called Seeds Of Earth.

The story begins with a Prologue set in the year 2126. Human Marine forces are being overrun by alien invaders on Mars and the outcome looks hopeless. The battle for Earth produces massive losses. However, as time seems to be running out for humanity, three interstellar colony ships are built and launched into deep space to find other worlds
Patrick Hayes
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
It took a while for me to get into this book, but by page 50 things certainly began to speed up! An epic story of a lost human colony of 150 years that is discovered by Earth. The colony learns that Earth is merely a puppet world for a large alien empire. Each chapter jumps to a different characters' point of view, which I enjoyed though I found myself enjoying some characters' stories more so than others.

I haven't read a book with this many different alien species since David Brin did his Uplif
Sep 06, 2013 rated it liked it

The book Seeds of Earth is a book written in the future. Most of the action happens on the three ships that are carrying Earths civilians. The Book is about various missions and problems that they must over come. One of their main problems is the fact that their home world is destroyed and only have 2000 humans left alive. The book is told in chapters of first person that is dedicated to the chapter.

This book was very interesting because of the futuristic scene that the story takes place in. The
Jaine Fenn
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a review for the whole trilogy - Seeds of Earth, Orphaned Worlds and Humanity's Fire - as I read them back-to-back

These books took a bit of getting into, as I found the pedestrian style hard going and hard to engage with, and the characters - of which there are many - a little interchangeable at first. Oddly, the book I had the least problems with was book 2, The Orphaned Worlds.

Having said that, this trilogy does do what it says on the tin, or rather cover. The late great Iain M Banks h
Keith Beasley-Topliffe
Jul 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
There's a fairly interesting novella hidden in this bloated mess. It's the story of a young man who is sent on a quest and survives many terrifying misadventures and betrayals to reach the end. It's been done before, of course, particularly by Voltaire in Candide. But Cobley comes up with a fairly interesting version. Unfortunately, that's not enough for him. He also includes a find the ancient artifact story (cf "Forbidden Planet" or Fred Pohl's Heechee books), an insurgency story (Red Dawn?), ...more
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Having read book 2 and 3 in the series, i write with hindsight (and the handy benefit of the following books having character and plot summaries).

This is proper space opera, says the obstinate blurb by iain banks on the cover. I bet cobley was rather miffed the publishers used it!

Written in chapter-to-a-character style, it takes a while to get going. But its worth it because soon enough theres all sorts of events great and small - everything from interesting sidequests and new characters to wac
Alastair Miles
Oct 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
The separation of opinion on this book is interesting. I don't normally give 1 stars but then this is the first book in a trilogy for a long, long time where I've had absolutely no compulsion to read on (and, for better or worse, I're slavishly followed an awful lot of book series in my time).

For me, the story doesn't grab and there's nothing to distinguish the characters from each other. In fact, my only memory of this book is of how bored I was.

Happily, there are people who do enjoy it. I woul
Blue Gargoyle
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fan
I agree with most reviewers here. It is slow getting going because several of the characters are poorly written, a complex plot is hard to pull together quickly, and the author's style is not very dynamic. However, the plot does eventually come to the fore, there is a satisfactory end to the book, and I'm quite keen to see what develops in book 2.
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Mike Cobley was born in Leicester and has lived in Scotland since the age of seven. Although the Scottish cultural heritage informs much of his own outlook (egalitarian, argumentative yet amiable, and able to appreciate rain), he thinks of himself as a citizen of the world.

While studying engineering at Strathclyde University, he discovered the joys and risks of student life and pursued a sideline

Other books in the series

Humanity's Fire (5 books)
  • The Orphaned Worlds (Humanity's Fire, #2)
  • The Ascendant Stars (Humanity's Fire, #3)
  • Ancestral Machines (Humanity's Fire, #4)
  • Splintered Suns (Humanity’s Fire #5)

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