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Semiosis (Semiosis Duology, #1)
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BOTM THEMED > Feb 2020 THEMED: Semiosis by Burke

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Teresa Carrigan | 2347 comments Mod
The February 2020 Themed Pick is Semiosis (Semiosis Duology, #1) by Sue Burke Semiosis by Sue Burke. The theme is Weird Biology. Please use this thread to post questions, comments, and reviews, at any time.

Official description:
In this character driven novel of first contact by debut author Sue Burke, human survival hinges on an bizarre alliance.

Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet's sentient species and prove that mammals are more than tools.

Forced to land on a planet they aren't prepared for, human colonists rely on their limited resources to survive. The planet provides a lush but inexplicable landscape--trees offer edible, addictive fruit one day and poison the next, while the ruins of an alien race are found entwined in the roots of a strange plant. Conflicts between generations arise as they struggle to understand one another and grapple with an unknowable alien intellect.

Marc V. (marc_v) | 6 comments Great choice, I loved the book.

Trike | 575 comments I wasn’t too taken by this book. It felt old school in a bad way, as if she hasn’t kept up with current technology. The weird thing was that she actually had an explanation for why things are dumb and/or difficult, but it was used in a throwaway line that didn’t actually relate to the story. Everything that set the story in motion could’ve been explained by making that one character a fanatic who deliberately sabotaged the expedition. Boom, done.

That wouldn’t excuse the bad science later in the book (for which there is no excuse, given, you know, the internet), but it would’ve helped the initial hurdle.

My review:

There’s actually a nearly identical book written 60+ years ago by Tom Godwin (who wrote the classic SF short story “The Cold Equations”) which, despite its 1950s white male privilege, is a pretty solid story. It’s called Space Prison, which is online for free.

My review of that:

Ryan Dash (ryandash) | 41 comments I read this last year. It was okay but nothing special, though there are some interesting ideas.

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 18 comments In confess that I was underwhelmed by Semiosis, and am actually a bit annoyed about that because there was a lot of potential. I do like a lot of the ideas, and what Burke is doing but I just don't think she pulls it off. I liked the ideas about communication - I do like the way Stevland communicates with the other plants, as unrealistic as that is - and the dialogue between the human settlers and him, but my big problem is that the author just fails to convey much of a sense of alienness. It could be on the midwest frontier in the 18th century.

My review, which may be expanded

Ally | 92 comments Thanks for the reading suggestion. The idea was good.
I liked this book but it was a bit long sometimes. I will not read the 2nd one.
And I really look at bamboo differently now !

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