Book - 2018
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"Colonists from Earth wanted the perfect home, but they'll have to survive on the one they found. They don't realize another life form watches...and waits...Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet's sentient species and prove that humans are more than tools."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780765391353
Characteristics: 333 pages ; 25 cm


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Apr 19, 2021

Similar concept to Children of Time (Adrian Tchaikovsky), but not done as well, in my opinion. Does highlight issues with idealism and the impossibility of utopia though.

Apr 10, 2020

An enjoyable read and an interesting idea. Maybe not so far off the mark. See The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.

Oct 29, 2019

This book is amazing. Plants are cool.

Aug 28, 2019

In the near future, “hippies” leave an increasingly unliveable Earth to found a commune on another planet, where lack of metal limits them to a low tech agrarian society. Over multiple generations, the idealistic colonists make a home and survive only by working with the planet’s flora and fauna in cooperative and symbiotic relationships. The book explores human-alien and inter-species communication in different forms. (China Mieville’s Embassytown did it better.) Imagining how a plant might think and communicate was well told. It also asks if killing a sentient being can ever be warranted and looks at the need for different types of leadership in different circumstances.

Aug 01, 2019

I love first contact stories that shake up our beliefs, and this one does that in spades! Current science tells us how trees communicate and send chemical signals to each other, so it doesn't seem impossible that they should find a way to communicate with humans, and even to shape their behavior: did we decide to protect plants that make fruit we like, or did they make fruit we like to get us to protect them? In the words of another reviewer here, who trained who? And that's just the beginning: the book explores how societies succeed or fail over time, what makes a good leader, and lots of other fascinating ideas.

I was delighted to learn that Burke has a sequel coming out in the fall called Interference, and I promptly submitted a purchase suggestion to KCLS. Burke is not going to stretch this into yet another bloated trilogy (thank goodness), and Semiosis doesn't end with any awkward cliff-hangers, but the evolving circumstances have definitely left me wanting more.

JCLChrisK Jul 08, 2019

Humans have been domesticating plants and animals for as long as we can remember. It's the only way we know how to live. So imagine a group of cosmic colonists in search of a new home finding a strange, lush planet with sentient plants adapted to domesticating their animals. The fruit, for instance, that was safe to eat yesterday is poisonous today as part of training the proper animal behavior. Survival will depend upon learning to communicate, figuring out how to connect so roles and relationship can be negotiated, both between the colonists and with the plants (and animals) around them.

The book has numerous human narrators--plus one plant--over the course of seven generations, as readers follow the evolution of the small group and their world, exploring just what sentience, communication, symbiosis, mutualism, and pacificism entail. It's a fascinating and engaging story.

Apr 09, 2019

Pretty well done, great concept about getting to a new planet and dealing with the existing ecosystems, etc... in the end, maybe too much on the internal politics between humans versus more on integrating with the ecosystem and Glassmakers. Bogged down a bit the last third... some chapters very slow to get going, but did like the jumps in time, just wish the author went further into the future

Oct 10, 2018

A hint of Bradbury, an undertone of Le Guin, an echo of Burroughs ... some of my impressions of Semiosis. Once I'd read a couple of chapters, I gobbled the book. I keep thinking about the visual images, as well as story development. I wonder how a Disney artist would draw a fippocat .....

Oct 07, 2018

A wonderfully written book. Engrossing and thought provoking. The well drawn characters, both plant and human, have depths that evolve through the chapters and over the generations. The author successfully unfolds the story at precisely the right pace to keep the reader’s interest. It is a fascinating tale of interactive plant and animal communication to ensure mutually benefitial survival. Highly recommended!

Sep 14, 2018

Idealistic/peaceful immigrants to a new world interact with an alien conciousness over generations. Both benefit, and change from the experience. Don't be lulled: violence crops up unexpectedly, and your favorite characters will survive, or they won't. This book will keep you on your toes. Recommended.

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