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The Sparrow | [Mary Doria Russell]

The Sparrow

Emilio Sandoz is a remarkable man, a living saint and Jesuit priest who undergoes an experience so harrowing and profound that it makes him question the existence of God. This experience - the first contact between human beings and intelligent extraterrestrial life - begins with a small mistake and ends in a horrible catastrophe.
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Publisher's Summary

Emilio Sandoz is a remarkable man, a living saint and Jesuit priest who undergoes an experience so harrowing and profound that it makes him question the existence of God. This experience - the first contact between human beings and intelligent extraterrestrial life - begins with a small mistake and ends in a horrible catastrophe.

Sandoz is a part of the crew sent to explore a new planet. What they find is a civilization so alien and incomprehensible that they feel compelled to wonder what it means to be human.

The priest is the only surviving member of the crew, and upon his return, he is confronted by public inquisition and accusations of the most heinous crimes imaginable. His faith utterly destroyed, crippled and defenseless, his only hope is to tell his tale. Father John Candotti has been charged with discovering the truth, but the truth may be more than Earth is willing to accept.

©2008 Mary Doria Russell; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio

What Members Say

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4.1 (797 )
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  •  
    JCL Coarsegold, CA USA 01-02-15
    JCL Coarsegold, CA USA 01-02-15 Member Since 2004

    Live near Yosemite National Park. Listen to Audible books while hiking.

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    "Intelligent; not an adventure"

    The Sparrow isn’t so much a sci-fi tale as it is a theological inquiry where the main question of the plot isn’t answered. After the story, the author allows how she is an academic who has not written fiction before. Her work has well-developed characters with well-written interaction among them, but no hard action. All the violence takes place off stage. In short, it wasn’t what I expected but still found the book well-written. The reader is good. On the sci-fi level, one has to suspend disbelief quite firmly at some points in the plot, i.e., the crew with its particular personalities would never have ever been permitted to undertake such a momentous and historical mission (some government would have stopped them); the characters’ organization would never have had the resources to fund such a mission (internal disputes about inappropriate expenditures would have stopped the project); the episode about the hands would never have happened in real life except under huge duress and onstage violence; and the radio reports back to earth would have been decipherable and understandable by many (hackers; hams; foreign governments, etc.), so get ready to sigh as the storyline takes unlikely, if not downright unbelievable, turns. Nevertheless, the book is well written and well read by its narrator, so if you like thoughtful fiction, you will probably enjoy this work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 11-09-14
    Jennifer 11-09-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Wow."
    Any additional comments?

    Perhaps one of the most surprising pieces of fiction I've encountered. This one keeps you engaged and then stays with you for months after you've left it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh Sacks 07-04-14
    Josh Sacks 07-04-14 Member Since 2010

    quirkyllama

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    "Implausible SF- extremely contrived"
    What did you like best about The Sparrow? What did you like least?

    Perhaps I'm being too hard on The Sparrow, having just read "The Martian" which treats space travel as something difficult and dangerous. Apparently in The Sparrow, you just hop an asteroid which gang of who's ever around to travel to distant stars. No zero-g training or vacuum experience required.
    When you arrive at the planet, everyone comes on down with the lander and the crew operates more like a family on vacation than a military command structure. Oh yeah, and extremely smart people who've trained for the mission don't think about fuel consumption or the importance of establishing contact with command before doing rash things.

    The plot is poorly constructed and contrived to arrive where the author wants it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Whatsczup? 02-17-14
    Whatsczup? 02-17-14
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    "Wonderful Spiritual Journey"
    Where does The Sparrow rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 3


    What does David Colacci bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His beautiful narration made me feel like I was sitting in a performance of reader's theatre. He brought all the details to life.


    Any additional comments?

    I read this book years ago when it came out. Hearing it again like this was truly a new spiritual awakening for me. Thank you. I can't wait until next month's credits come available so I can read the next part, Children of God!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed Marietta, GA, United States 10-05-13
    Ed Marietta, GA, United States 10-05-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Great book and series!"
    What did you love best about The Sparrow?

    I am a Christian and I love Science Fiction. This book and series is firing on both cylinders. MD Russell has crafted a great story with real in sites in faith and the human condition, and understanding of science and society.


    What other book might you compare The Sparrow to and why?

    Dune series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam BUTLER, PA, United States 07-18-13
    Sam BUTLER, PA, United States 07-18-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A fresh and exciting "First Contact" novel."
    Where does The Sparrow rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Near the top, for sure. It was very original, and among the best sci-fi I've experienced. SO much literary value here.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alberto Miami, FL, United States 04-03-13
    Alberto Miami, FL, United States 04-03-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Original Scifi Story but"

    The book is boring. It's a mix of aien sociology, first contact and the main plot is a superficial and fast way to debate evil and the existence of God.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Pico Rivera, CA, United States 04-02-13
    Margaret Pico Rivera, CA, United States 04-02-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A challenge to your listening ear."
    Where does The Sparrow rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I previously read this book years ago. This time the characters come to life.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Sparrow?

    Haven't finished listening.


    What about David Colacci’s performance did you like?

    Does a great job of introducing different characters.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Listen mostly in the car. I would have to drive across country and would do so.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Lubovich Uranus 03-29-13
    Ron Lubovich Uranus 03-29-13 Member Since 2012

    Nimble God

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    "A modern SF classic with moral complexity"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked how this tale of first contact went incredibly wrong due to human nature, our inability to understand something truly alien to our perspective. Too often in SF, alien species end up being anthropomorphic projections of human expectation. The worldbuilding is complex and believable. The characters are real people whose suffering has meaning, and boy do they suffer. It is tragedy porn, to a certain extent, like Connie Willis' novels, but the best literature often falls in this category. The author is unafraid of moral complexity, something usually lacking in genre fiction where the villains are usually clearly evil and the heroes' virtue outshines all the darkness. This novel shows the folly of the arrogance of even the most benevolent of our species.


    What does David Colacci bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He accentuates the tension of the protagonist exquisitely.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    AMC is thinking of making a TV show out of this.

    "Most depressingly brilliant SF show ever."

    "It's like John Carter of Mars, but with interspecial rape."


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heath Hopkins 12-28-12

    Heath

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    "Excellent story with a great narrator."
    If you could sum up The Sparrow in three words, what would they be?

    hard science fiction


    What other book might you compare The Sparrow to and why?

    The Mote in God's Eye. It's similar in that both stories have a first contact scenario with an alien civilization whose cultural differences cannot be predicted until it's too late.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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