The Man Who Fell to Earth

Walter Tevis
The Man Who Fell to Earth Cover

The Man Who Fell to Earth


The Man Who Fell to Earth - I read this years ago and only vaguely remembered it but I remembered that it is very good. My memory was right. It is very good. This is science fiction as good as it gets.

It is a poignant story of a man from another planet, Anthea, which we presume is Mars. He comes on a desperate mission to save his dying people. With his advanced knowledge he markets new products, revolutionary products to finance the building of a rescue vehicle, a ferry boat he calls it. Gradually he goes native, becoming a melancholy alcoholic. Eventually he is arrested by the FBI and held for extended interrogation by the CIA. They blind him and break his spirit, what there is left of it, thwarting his mission to save his race.

Many books written about a near future, one that has come and gone for us, have become dated; they refer to things from the time they were written that had fallen out of vogue or were obsolete when the book takes place twenty five years later. Not so this one, for the most part. It was written in 1963 and takes place in the late 1980s. There was one odd little anomaly: a reference to Watergate. Clearly the edition I read had been updated. It made me wonder how much of it had been updated - just the Watergate reference or was it extensively revised? There were still elevator operators in the book, in 1985, but that was importantly germane to the story.

This well written little book, little known book, should be on the must read list of everyone who enjoys reading science fiction.