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Download But What of Earth?: A Novel Rendered Into a Bad Example epub

by Piers Anthony

Download But What of Earth?: A Novel Rendered Into a Bad Example epub
ISBN: 0606111778
ISBN13: 978-0606111775
Category: Fantasy
Subcategory: Science Fiction
Author: Piers Anthony
Language: English
Publisher: Demco Media (January 1, 1989)
ePUB size: 1917 kb
FB2 size: 1444 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 416
Other Formats: docx lrf lit mobi

I've read this book 4 times now.
For would-be writers interested in a behind-the-scenes peek at the editing and development (and hobbling) of a novel, the annotations are fantastic.
If reading in-depth rebuttals from a writer to his various copy editors sounds thrilling, this is the book for you! Sadly, the actual novel is (by the author's own admission) a mediocre affair - so you can't even work up sufficient outrage over the many changes the editors made to the text.
The book is about a future Earth where over population has made life miserable for the majority. Then suddenly, matter transmission becomes a reality and opens up the space frontier. People start migrating from Earth. The migration goes out of hand and as a result, the very civilization collapses.

Scot, the protagonist, is a nice guy who is denied migration due a misunderstanding. So he has to eke out survival in a post-apocalyptic scenario. He manages to do it without compromising any of his ethics.

I found the book an interesting read but it has two significant flaws.

(1) The world depicted in the novel is very similar to our own world in terms of science and technology except for the presence of matter transmission. As such, the matter transmission technology appears as if it has sprouted out of a technological vacuum, arbitrarily and out of context.

(2) The title of the book is “But What of Earth?”. The scenario deals just with America. The rest of the world – and in fact the major population centers like China and India, are ignored. As long as the population of China and India remains intact, there is no such thing as population implosion and so the whole premise of the collapse of civilization falls flat.

I would like to end this review by sharing an email correspondence that I had with Mr. Anthony way back in 2006, when I was editing an anthology titled “Fall and Rise”. What has this correspondence to do with the novel? Read to the end to find out.

Here is the said correspondence:

My initial email:

Dear Mr. Anthony:

This may sound totally presumptuous, coming from a relatively unknown person, and I apologize for the presumption, but I have a request. I am editing a print anthology. The theme is: In most post-apocalyptic SF stories, it is shown that pure-bred SOBs have better chance of survival than decent folks. This anthology takes the opposite view. It will comprise of post- apocalyptic stories showing that survival is possible without letting go of any universal ethical values. In short, I am changing the paradigm from "survival of the fittest" to "survival of the nicest". If, by any chance, you find the theme interesting and worthy, and if you have a reprint kicking around that fits the theme, would it be possible for you to let me have it? Unfortunately, it is a shoe-string
operation and the only compensation will be a copy of the anthology. The deadline is January 31, 2007.
Ahmed A. Khan

Ps: I will take this opportunity to thank you for some good moments some of your works have provided me - novels like Ox, Steppe, On a Pale Horse, The Blue Adept trilogy (the first one), the first two books of the Xanthe series, and stories like "Getting Through University". In fact, I consider "Getting Through University" one of my top ten all time favorite SF stories.


It's a tempting idea, but my sense of realism prejudices me against it. I will ponder, but suspect I will pass this by.

Piers Anthony

My counter email:

I was under the impression that one of the agendas of SF writers is to shape reality rather than follow it. :)

Counter response:

New science can be conjectured. A new nature for our driven human species seems less likely.


That ends the correspondence.

I am assuming that when Mr. Anthony responded to me, he must have forgotten about “But What of Earth?”.

- Ahmed A. Khan (
But What of Earth was an early novel of Anthony's published when he had little say on the finished product. He had to buy back the rights to produce this volume, and it illustrates that what you read may not be anywhere near what the author intended.

But What of Earth? The Novel is about mass migration off the planet Earth to space colonies and how it effects those unable to afford the trip. The actual story is secondary to the way it is presented.
In this book the story is printed the way Anthony originally had written it. Anthony includes notation detailing the changes made, who made them and insight into their personalities base on their comments.

If you enjoy Anthony's authors notes in his other books then this is a must read
A story about a bleak future for human kind.
The story is more of a warning to the reader as to what could happen to our society if the current trend of disassociation, disregard, and irresponsibility continues.
"But what of Earth" proposes an escape from this reality with the advent of matter transmission. However it is this easy escape that enlightens the characters to realization that what is left of Earth is worth saving.
A great story, with thought provoking ideas and concepts. It is a journey of discovery where the destination is that of the value of home, health and self.
The book also presents the ways in which storys and novels are frequently mutalated to such an extent where the focus is lost. These added editorial comments add to the understanding of the literary process.
With every time I have read "But What of Earth" I have found more meaning and hidden truths. It is a book that can be read and enjoyed many times. For anyone that enjoys a sci-fi story, with a reasonable basis in real life, I can only say that this is a must read novel.
It sucks how they try to screw but the good guy prosper in the end... this book is 3rd book read by this author. it was funny entertaining kept me in suspense and i very much enjoyed one of my fav's!
I absolutely love this book and it's concept I also enjoy the commentary on the inner workings of the editing system