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The Sparrow

Russell, Mary Doria (Book - 2008 )
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Sparrow
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Combining elements of science fiction and spiritual philosophy, this novel is a tale of the devastating consequences of a scientific mission to make contact with an extraterrestrial culture.
Authors: Russell, Mary Doria, 1950-
Title: The sparrow
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2008
Edition: Ballantine Books trade pbk. ed
Characteristics: 431 p. ;,21 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Mary Doria Russell
Notes: Includes reader's guide
Includes an excerpt from the author's Dreamers of the day (p. [423]-431)
Summary: Combining elements of science fiction and spiritual philosophy, this novel is a tale of the devastating consequences of a scientific mission to make contact with an extraterrestrial culture.
ISBN: 9780449912553
0449912558
Branch Call Number: SF RUSSELL 2008
Subject Headings: Jesuits Fiction Life on other planets Fiction
Genre/Form: Science fiction
Topical Term: Life on other planets
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Father Emilio Sandoz is a Jesuit linguist who is one of the first to visit the first planet found with intelligent life. His experience is a harrowing illustration at how deeply you can misunderstand words when they a from an experience that is alien.

Comment by: multcolib_rachaels May 29, 2014

Father Emilio Sandoz is a Jesuit linguist who is one of the first to visit the first planet found with intelligent life. His experience is a harrowing illustration at how deeply you can misunderstand words when they a from an experience that is alien.

Father Emilio Sandoz is a Jesuit linguist who is one of the first to visit the first planet found with intelligent life. His experience is a harrowing illustration at how deeply you can misunderstand words when they a from an experience that is alien.

2009: This amazing work of science fiction brought together the old world and the future world in an ingenious way - Russell speculates about what would happen in a future where the Jesuits continue to bring the word of God to new worlds - this time, literally.

If you have to send a group of people to a newly discovered planet to contact a totally unknown species, whom would you choose? How about four Jesuit priests, a young astronomer, a physician, her engineer husband, and a child prostitute-turned-computer-expert?


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May 29, 2014
  • multcolib_rachaels rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Father Emilio Sandoz is a Jesuit linguist who is one of the first to visit the first planet found with intelligent life. His experience is a harrowing illustration at how deeply you can misunderstand words when they a from an experience that is alien.

Oct 23, 2013
  • Knitwit50 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

My all time favorite book. Out of this world characters, you inhabit their skins, horrifying deeds done in the name of God and man, rich worlds and vistas and the drama of human emotions.

Aug 13, 2013
  • athena14 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I abandoned the book after forcing myself through 14 chapters. Emilio's wonderfulness was as unbearable for me as Sofia's life history and genius.

Apr 08, 2013
  • drok77 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I have to call this a "good" book because it caused an explosion of ideas and concepts in my head while reading it. I was impressed with the range of themes this story contains. It's theological, sociological, anthropological, psychological, and philosophical, with a fair amount of heavy science thrown in to keep the sci-fi nerds pleased. The characters are all just a bit too unbelievable for me though. Emilio was the worst. I could not relate to him throughout any of the book. He came across as whiny even before all the trauma he'd suffer on the alien planet. I also thought his relationship with Supaari after everyone else died was uncharacteristic. Yes, Emilio was mortified with grief at first, but he completely failed to communicate well with Supaari. In every other mission the priest had been on, everyone sort of falls in love with him, yet Supaari is utterly bored with him, so it was unbelievable when the alien discards him. Anne and Sofia were unrealistically perfect female characters. Any flaw they had was somehow excused, justified, or reconciled in some way or another. I love strong female characters, but they have to remain human. The author admitting that she saw herself as Anne was self-promoting and awkwardly narcissistic. I have so much trouble with the event that caused all the trouble of Rahkat, the alien planet: planting a garden with Earth plants. WTF?! I'm no type of scientist and I was appalled at the concept. Endangering the ecosystem and introducing the concept of farming to a sentient species who did not have it as part of their lives is such an obvious abomination, even though I'm not a naturalist (like the character Marc) or an anthropologist (like Anne). For crap's sake, that was just ridiculously stupid. Had they been less educated Earthlings, yes, I would have viewed it as an honest mistake. Those are my rants for this book. I did love the two alien races, and the concept of herbivore/carnivore and prey/predator was brilliant. I was in love with the gentle Runa species and thoroughly intrigued by the Jana'ata and their control of the planet.

Simply incredible. Moderately slow start, but very strong characters and plot. Mature content undoubtedly, but with a satisfying end. Now on to the sequel.

Jul 13, 2012
  • cebbk rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This ranks among my top 5 books ever. I need to invest in a new copy, I've loaned it out so many times. I strongly encourage anyone reading this to read the first 1/3 of "Children of God" for a different perspective of the events in "The Sparrow."

Jul 09, 2012
  • ginger_bug rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is amazing. Some heavy, and some gory, stuff, not for the faint of heart, beautifully written characters, and excellent use of multiple timelines to build up a bit of mystery.

Jun 28, 2012
  • cbreads2009 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

excellent book with great character studies. very timely material.

Dec 08, 2011
  • redhotreader rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I read this book with some trepedation as it was a sci-fi book placed in the future. It also pertained to life on other planets and first contact.

To my surprise I enjoyed this book immensley and had it haunting me after I had read it for weeks afterwards.

The book takes place in the 21st century. It has 2 time lines one is the lone survivor of a group of 6 returns from a planet. Emilo is a jesuit and is taken into the jesuit society to find out what happened to the rest of the group. He tells his story about what happened to their group. Not only is Emilo's spirt broken but his is also physically disabled.

A group of friends get together for a night of song and fun. Jimmy goes back to his office and hears music coming from one of the planets they are investigating. He tells his friends and they make plans to go to this planet with the beautiful music.

Nov 10, 2011
  • R_2 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Wow.

Intense.

Great science fiction.

I especially liked the way it combined relatively modern day issues with science fiction.

The follow-up, Children of God, is also worth reading.

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Wandrer thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

May 26, 2009
  • dharvie rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

dharvie thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Sep 11, 2008
  • davidharvie rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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Apr 10, 2008
  • lms rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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Summary

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Apr 10, 2008
  • lms rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A group of scientists, led by a Jesuit priest cross the universe to observe and initiate contact with an alien culture. They get more than they bargained for. A book about colonization, assumptions and beliefs.

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May 26, 2009
  • dharvie rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Violence: This title contains Violence.

May 26, 2009
  • dharvie rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Sep 11, 2008
  • davidharvie rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Violence: This title contains Violence.

Jun 18, 2008
  • Kait rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Violence: This title contains Violence.

Apr 10, 2008
  • lms rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Violence: This title contains Violence.

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Faced with the Divine, people took refuge in the banal, as though answering a cosmic multiple-choice question: If you saw a burning bush, would you (a) call 911, (b) get the hot dogs, or (c) recognize God? A vanishingly small number of people would recognize God, Anne had decided years before, and most of them had simply missed a dose of Thorazine.

"The poor you will always have with you," Jesus said. A warning, Emilio wondered, or an indictment?

As many as thirty or as few as ten years later, lying exhausted and still, eyes open in the dark long after the three suns of Rakhat had set, no longer bleeding, past the vomiting, enough beyond the shock to think again, it would occur to Emilio Sandoz to wonder if perhaps that day int he Sudan was really only part of the setup for a punchline a life-time in the making.
It was an odd thought, under the circumstances. He understood that, even at the time. But thinking it, he realized with appalling clarity that on his journey of discovery as a Jesuit, he had not merely been the first human being to set foot on Rhakhat, had not simply explored parts of its largest continent and learned two of its languages and loved some of its people. He had also discovered the outermost limit of faith and, in doing so had located the exact boundary of despair. It was at that moment that he learned, truly, to fear God.

For he could not feel God or approach God as a friend or to speak to God with the easy familiarity of the devout or praise God with poetry. And yet, as he had grown older, the path he had started down almost in ignorance had begun to seem clearer to him. It became more apparent to him that he was truly called to walk this strange and difficult, this unnatural and unutterable path to God, which required not poetry or piety but simple endurance and patience.
No one could know what this meant to him.

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