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Empire of Bones
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Empire of Bones

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  159 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
A bold and provocative novel of the future. Millions of years ago, alien beings seeded Earth with their genetic strands to create a new outpost of intelligent life. Now their descendants have returned to Earth's skies, drawn by their detection of a Receiver, a human with the genetic ability to tap into alien communications. It is the signal that Earth is ready to be absorb ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 20th 2003 by Tor (first published March 26th 2002)
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Nov 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: babble-added
A Star Trek plot - humans are the result of genes scattered on Earth by aliens. One human finally evolves enough to communicate with the monitoring ship and the next steps are taken to incorporate humans into the empire. The human is an Indian woman, fighting against a reinstated caste system; the aliens also have a strict and intricate caste system, reinforced by implanted suppressants. What will be the humans' role in the galactic empire? Not as big as they might think. This seems like it shou ...more
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Although I found aspects of the story grotesque and would have enjoyed some deeper character development and relationships (it was satisfying as an intellectual exploration but lacking in the emotional arena - I can't put my finger on what but certainly something kept me from becoming attached to any of the characters), Liz Williams accomplished something with this novel that good SF often does - she made the familiar strange and created aliens that were satisfyingly Other. Futuristic disease-wa ...more
Sep 25, 2009 rated it liked it
I picked this up because it seemed a little different to your standard first contact speculative fiction, in that the main human characters are not American or European, but from the Indian subcontinent. Liz Williams is apparently British, so she isn't a part of the system she writes about, and it doesn't feel at all unfamiliar or different to me... Still very British in some ways, I think. Still, the setting is different and interesting for that.

The story itself isn't all that surprising, and t
Mark Harding
Apr 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Power hierarchies and politics run through every page of this novel. Even the alien oppressors are victims. Yet reasons for optimism shine through. Touching lead characters and a driving storyline. (Increasingly so as the novel progresses.)

In the last few pages I was starting to worry - is Liz Williams actually going to tie-up all the loose ends or leave me hanging so I need to buy the next book in the series? (An unfortunate practice that too many authors use.) No worries, though, Williams pul
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's always amusing to read a book from the era when people considered the Web and the Net such special things that they needed to be carefully noted as distinct from other kinds of media. I recall several times the mention of news as specifically Web news. Nowadays, of course, the Internet is so integrated into our daily lives it's just a delivery platform like radio or newspaper, just the next obvious phase in our technological evolution. News is news, web page or otherwise. I wonder what thin ...more
Sep 18, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
An early take on alien first contact over the backdrop of feminism and terrorism in India by Liz Williams - whom I notice tends to be an ambitious writer with a somewhat shaky execution. (At least her earlier books, which seem to improve with subsequent volumes, so... she's at least interesting and not static.)

Empire was well-written and pretty interesting/exciting. But like many of her early books, the ending was fitting but felt too convenient - which made worse by the way it felt as if there
Jun 21, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I gave up on it months ago, always thinking I'd come back to it. No, I need to learn that if I put it down, repeatedly, and would rather read Greek tragedy and Roman comedy and academic histories instead, then I need to just quit on that particular book. What turned me off? A lack of depth both of place and character. It had a certain puerile understanding of India that I found more boring than insulting tho' may disagree about that. Other that, it simply didn't grab me. What can I say? Aeschylu ...more
Dec 02, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up because I really liked The Snake Agent (part of the Inspector Chen series). The writing and story were weaker, though still enjoyable. Mostly I think I wanted more depth for the plot and all the characters, human and alien. I felt like she just skimmed the surface, and there were so many interesting ideas she could have explored - how biology dictates our behavior, the idea of a caste system being 'natural', free will versus biological imperatives, etc. The book was enterta ...more
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Liz Williams can create really smooth prose, and she can do incluing (teaching the reader about the setting without huge infodumps) pretty well, and I was really loving this book until about 100 pages in, when suddenly she dumped all of her narrative tension by putting in a short scene from a completely new POV in which several of the big secrets I'd been enjoying trying to piece together were Revealed.

After that it was very hard to care. I couldn't even get excited about the remaining secrets,
John Strohm
Apr 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Only got 1/3 of the way through this confusing mess before I put it down. The characters are poorly developed stick figures with only one or two motivations. Williams can't make up her mind whether she is telling a tightly constructed story, or a sprawling trilogy. I believe she wraps everything up in this one book, but I don't see how, given that the cast of characters is rapidly expanding to Tolstoy levels.
Jan 17, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Williams develops an interesting take on the "contact" theme in this story. She also sets the story in India, rather than the usual Western locale. Mixed in with some mystery and adventure are meditations on sexuality and caste-based society - and all of this in one book that is half the length of contemporary efforts. I'm glad I discovered Williams, and recommend her to anyone who enjoys good fiction.
Brian Allen
I was not impressed with this book. Another spin on alien encounter, but galactic politics, stone waling and subterfuge or involved. Its hard to believe that the antagonists would want to destroy in entire planet on a whim that could easily become part of their empire, which is what they are supposed to do, colonize new planets such as Earth. I did not like this book.
Jan 26, 2011 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
I like Williams' dedication to not doing an all American, all Western European future earth, but to be honest I remember nothing about this book except that it takes place in India, there's an alien contact, and it didn't seem to be exoticizing or finger-pointing unduly at the caste system.
Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very cool adventure.
Doreen Dalesandro
Genre: sci-fi
Rating: 4 stars
I read a hardcopy.

Great book with intriguing ideas!
Jan 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining with a interesting futuristic twist on Chariots of the gods theory. A good book to clear the mind before going on to something more serious or complex.
Booknerd Fraser
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Lots of nice weird aliens and communications problems, and a juxtaposition with the conditions on Earth. It I have a problem, it's the number of loose ends left at the end.
May 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. While I generally prefer Ms Williams with more haunt-tech, this is still an engaging romp of a read
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb. A bleak future centred in India with the caste system restored in law. Our heroine, Jaya, is a Dalit resistance leader. Enter the aliens, also from a caste-ruled society! Enthralling!
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May 04, 2012
David Fairley
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Apr 08, 2016
Eygló Karlsdóttir
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Dec 05, 2007
Laura Morgan
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Yohana Andina
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Mar 14, 2016
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Oct 14, 2011
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Mar 20, 2010
Dots of Springtempo
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Jul 01, 2011
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There is more than one author with this name

Liz Williams is a British science fiction writer. Her first novel, The Ghost Sister was published in 2001. Both this novel and her next, Empire of Bones (2002) were nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award.[1] She is also the author of the Inspector Chen series.

She is the daughter of a stage magician and a Gothic novelist. She holds a PhD in Philosophy of
More about Liz Williams...