A Gift from Earth Only the plateau is habitable Only the powerful surviveA solitary mountain rises from the soaring toxic blackness of the planet Forty miles below the atmosphere is sixty times as thick as Earth s a

  • Title: A Gift from Earth
  • Author: Larry Niven
  • ISBN: 9780708880128
  • Page: 295
  • Format: Paperback
  • Only the plateau is habitable Only the powerful surviveA solitary mountain rises from the soaring, toxic blackness of the planet Forty miles below, the atmosphere is sixty times as thick as Earth s, and hot enough to melt lead.The organ banks are the centre of this world To them the subservient colonists contribute living limbs And apart from them the overlords obtaOnly the plateau is habitable Only the powerful surviveA solitary mountain rises from the soaring, toxic blackness of the planet Forty miles below, the atmosphere is sixty times as thick as Earth s, and hot enough to melt lead.The organ banks are the centre of this world To them the subservient colonists contribute living limbs And apart from them the overlords obtain the vital parts that keep them aliveExcellent and already only too believable Daily TelegraphLarry Niven is the Hugo and Nebula award winning author of Ringworld, co author of The Mote in God s Eye and Lucifer s HammerCover illustration by Peter A Jones.

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      Published :2018-08-25T03:07:12+00:00

    One thought on “A Gift from Earth”

    1. This is one of Niven's earliest books, but still an interesting read bearing in mind it's extrapolating from mid-1960's beliefs and assumptions. It's a scientific and political exploration set in the framework of his Known Space series, and while the characterization may be a bit on the weak side the plot throws out a stream of challenges and postulations that more than make up for any other shortcomings. (Mt. Lookitthat was always one of my favorite settings.)

    2. Browsing through the Niven backlist of Known Space books, and after the stellar Protector and Ringworld's Children, expectations were ramped up for A Gift from Earth. And this does start with a great setup: on a world where the only livable landmass is 40 miles up on a plateau, we find the colony of Mount Lookitthat. Not only do its inhabitants live on the edge of a steep death, but they are further burdened with a repressive society of haves and have-nots. The privileged 'Crew' can have any org [...]

    3. I was initially inclined to dock this book one star for its reliance on parapsychology. The plot here leans very heavily on the protagonist's psychic powers (specifically, a type of telekinesis) which acts as the book's perpetuum mobile. Matt Keller's psychic powers are so fundamental to this story that without them there would be no story to speak of. But then I realized that when this book was written -- during the late 1960s -- the jury was still out on the legitimacy of parapsychological res [...]

    4. Written in the 60’s, based on the inside cover, this book impressed me with some of the foresight and scientific knowledge that author, Larry Niven, had for his time. The entire concept of space travel in his universe greatly parallels many Discovery Channel documentaries that I have watched in my day. Even other aspects of science fiction are delved into aptly enough and not just based loosely on a generic “alien space crystal” causation.In my opinion of what Mr. Niven does best is the ma [...]

    5. Set in Niven’s Known Space, more specifically on the world of Plateau, where the only habitable location is Mount Lookitthat, an area half the size of California that rises above the toxic clouds that range the planet. The crew of the initial colony ship set up an elitist society in which “crew” are first class citizens and “colonists” are lower class. This distinction is particularly noticeable when it comes to medical care. Capital punishment is used even for small offenses. Convicte [...]

    6. I enjoyed this. I read this after reading Ringworld. It didn't go where I expected it to, but it was still a fun story.

    7. Centuries ago, a series of ramrobot probes had been launched from Earth. One happened to land on a world that would soon become known as Mount Lookitthat. By sheer luck, the probe touched down on the Plateau, a mountain that loomed above the toxic gases that permeate the entire planet. After receiving the probe's telemetry, two slowboats arrived carrying colonists. To their dismay, the Plateau was the only habitable landmass on the planet. Worse, it was smaller than anticipated, roughly half the [...]

    8. Larry Niven was my favorite author in my pre-teen and early teen years. Back in those days I read all of his pre-1980 work over and over again (aside from the novels The Magic Goes Away and Protector) and then I stopped. Though I did end up reading Footfall many years later, for about 30 years I gave little thought to reading any of his stuff.A year ago though, bored with what I was reading and compelled by the cover of Juggler of Worlds, I ordered it from Powell's and read it. I then read three [...]

    9. 49 out of 100.One of those 'the way the future was' novels. By that I mean a novel written forty plus years ago that fails to anticipate many technological advantages in the near future but still is set in the far future. People are living in distant planets in a galactic empire and still have hand held telephones and coffee tables. That being said, the premise of the novel is almost a philosophical question: does technology dictate ethics? In the universe of this novel, set in the far future on [...]

    10. A gift from Larry Niven.Niven is one of my favorite authors. And his known space series is some of his best work. In a gift from Earth a planet in the Tau Ceti system is colonized by humans. Plateau boasts a California sized land mass that rises out of the poisonous atmosphere of the world and gives it its only living area. It is ruled by a hierarchical ruling class that demands obedience and uses the death penalty to punish most infractions. This serves a dual purpose, as the organs that are ha [...]

    11. I've recently become enamoured with the works or Niven through a friend who dumped an armload of his stuff on me recently. I began the trek into Niven's galaxy, first with Protector. A Gift from Earth came second.While the foundation of the novel is just as imaginative as what I found so moving in Protector, the overall presentation seemed more to convey a sense of nuance to the grander picture of his overall world building. While I found nothing specifically off putting, I just, on a personal l [...]

    12. In Niven's Known Space series, the organ banks allow the privileged to live forever, as long as doctors can replace old organs with new ones. In A Gift From Earth, he builds on that idea.On the planet "We Made It", only descendants of the Crew of the original colonist ship got to benefit from the organ banks, creating a distinct social gap between the have and have-nots. This is the story of a technological breakthrough that eliminated the need for the organ banks, and the resulting social uphea [...]

    13. A neo-feudal police state on a state-sized terrestrial plateau atop an inhospitable venus type world. In other words, 6 stars for setting. Characters are aight but thats not where the main show is. Plot is well paced and engrossing for the entire time. A lot of the book revolves around organ harvesting, capital punishment, and the relationship between technology and ethics. The writing is on par with his other stuff. There are still a lot of the "the sonic-wave front marched out of the town…" [...]

    14. Niven has used the concept of organ banks & the resultant change in ethics/justice (i.e. death penalty for traffic offences) in several stories - most notably in the Long Arm of Gil Hamilton, but it fits in well with this society of Haves (decendants of the Crew) and Have Nots (the decendants of the colonists)on a challenging world. Niven loves to play with unusual habitats, and this world is no exception.I liked the relatively slow reveal of Matt's talent - even if it took the characters ev [...]

    15. This is my first Niven novel and, given his popularity, I have to assume its not one of his better works. The explanation for the hero's talent was a bit too far-fetched and his motivation for penetrating into the dangerous Hospital was extremely weak. There was also that annoying streak of fascism that surfaces so often in science-fiction, particularly that of the "Old Masters." Both oppressor and oppressed alike seem the recognize a need for capital punishment and concealing from the public th [...]

    16. This is my first Niven novel and, given his popularity, I have to assume its not one of his better works. The explanation for the hero's talent was a bit too far-fetched and his motivation for penetrating into the dangerous Hospital was extremely weak. There was also that annoying streak of fascism that surfaces so often in science-fiction, particularly that of the "Old Masters." Both oppressor and oppressed alike seem the recognize a need for capital punishment and concealing from the public th [...]

    17. A rather early Niven. A great set up, micro world in N-space, top of a mega mountain is the only habitable place for crew and colonists to live (about the same size as the state of California.) There is the element of a dictatorship government. The class conflict and rebellion,I liked the whole organ bank angle used by the upper class (crew) as power to enforce control over the lower class (colonist.) The book reads like good old fashion pulp.There is the problem of the weird eye ability the pro [...]

    18. Very readable pulp but I don't get how this era of science fiction authors thought human psychology worked! Everyone is so hyperrational or their emotions are, I don't know. And he's obsessed with ships' whores (see Ringworld) and ladies of the revolutionaries and non-sentient females (see Ringworld and Ptavvs).But a man blurting out that he's a 21-year old virgin? The most nervousness about sex, uh, ever. Also, the worst description of telepathy ever written. Optic nerve fibers? Seriously? That [...]

    19. A lot of the parts that make up this story just don't seem to fit together very well. It's a story about a space colony on a mostly uninhabitable world; It's a story about a guy with a strange power that makes others forget about him; It's a story about an imbalance of power and a warped justice system that executes you for jaywalking to fill the organ banks. It also ends with an epilogue that has very little to do with the story that just unfolded. Despite this, there's lots of action and thoug [...]

    20. About the least interesting of all the Larry Niven books I have read. I only made it through by hoping that at some point it would "take off" - but it never did. Whereas most of his books tend to really describe the world of the book (Ringworld, The Integral Trees), this one barely did so at all. The entirety of the book was really just dealing with character interactions centered around a pretty thin plot and, to me, a rather unimaginative view of a far-flung future colony. For some this may be [...]

    21. Criminals of the "lower" class are going to the "organ banks."If you're against it, then you're a criminal.A herd of rebels is gathering together,making themselves easy meat for the police(view spoiler)[But, lo, they've invited to the party some 'screen' guests,and there's a 'psychic virgin' among them, who finallyloses his 'virginity,' but nonetheless keeps his 'psy,'and he is going to be their savior (hide spoiler)]

    22. Wading into Niven's catalog and purposely not choosing one his more praised novels at the outset, I found A Gift From Earth to be pretty boilerplate sci fi. Nothing special, but it wasn't a terrible novel. I don't have the option of 2.5 stars, so I just rounded down. The story was fairly predicable, but given that Niven's prose is very solid, I'm eager to get into Ringworld, Lucifer's Hammer, Integral Trees, etc.

    23. Usually I enjoy Nevin’s books and like his characters, but A Gift from Earth was too long and the characters did not ring true. I couldn't understand their thinking or motivation. It ended abruptly with several short unrelated stories that I did not understand until reading some reviews for explanation. Tacking on the arrival of the Outsiders at the end added nothing to the story although integrating their arrival into the plot could have been interesting.

    24. One of the first sf books I read - and I still remember as if it were yesterday. Mt Lookitthat. A world of haves and have-nots, privilege and deprivation, life and death. I notice that a few other reviewers have panned Niven for attempting to predict the far future, while failing abjectly to predict the near future. That's to miss the point. The main character in this book is the organ banks, and the main thread the propensity of governments to conflate profit and punishment.

    25. I read this probably 30 years ago the first time. Since Niven has written more books in his "known space" series recently (over the past 5 to 10 years), I decided to re-read the books I had read long ago and thus had forgotten most of the details.30 years later, this is still an excellent book, and a great first book in the known space series. Highly recommended.

    26. SciFi - The world of Mount Lookitthat was originally populated by a star ship. The minority "crew" established a dictatorship when they awakened the "colonists". The rebel "Sons of Earth" want to upset that relationship and have a potential weapon when recruit Matt Keller is found to have a psi talent that renders him invisible under the right conditions.

    27. I read this book as a teenager and loved it. The whole concept of the simple-minded robot scout ships finding one habitable spot on an entire planet, and its nature, amazed me. Years later, I read it again. Like so many books, the library fairies had paid it a visit. In this case, the fairy in question was the 'Sexism Fairy'A book of its time.

    28. A tad more disjointed a story than I remember and the Outsider epilogue contradicts the Puppeteer claims of using a starseed lour tto attract the Outsiders to We Made It in order to allow humans to breed aggression out of the Kintz Bit overall still a good read exploring the morality of colonization and organ banks.

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