RETRO-REVIEW: The Man Who Fell To Earth by Walter Tevis

This recent article on Walter Tevis and his first-rate novel The Man Who Fell To Earth made me pull out my review from October 2001. Here’s what I said then.

REVIEW SUMMARY: Deserves the “classic” label. You’ll love this book!

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A lone extraterrestrial lands on Earth with a mission.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Excellent story with fascinating characterizations; poignant and memorable.

CONS: A revised edition that is not labeled as such

BOTTOM LINE: Fantastic! This is a classic that’s worth reading now and re-reading every so often.


This is one the best science fiction stories I’ve read in a long time. It hooks you early and holds you to the unexpected end. I read this in two sittings and loved every page.

The alien, Newton, is likable from the start. His outsider’s view of humanity and his assimilation are fascinating in content and in the way they are described by Tevis. The author judiciously uses characterizations to advance plot and vice versa. All of this bends together to tell a compelling story.

I read the revised 1999 edition but own an older, un-revised copy. I personally don’t think that the inconsistencies listed by other [Amazon] reviewers are a big deal, nor do they detract from the story in my opinion. I will, however, read the original version when I re-read this in the future. And I will be rereading this again?it’s that good!

3 thoughts on “RETRO-REVIEW: The Man Who Fell To Earth by Walter Tevis”

  1. Good gravy, I haven’t read this one in a long time. I think my copy dates from around the original release of the movie with David Bowie.

    I’d love to know if the movie, as currently available on DVD, is the “extended” version. PBS showed it late one night with a lot of footage that I did not see in the theatrical version (yep, I actually saw it in the theatre…as I recall, it was a double feature with “Walkabout”!).

    Good book, good movie. A rarity.

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