Downward to the Earth

Downward to the Earth is a 1970 science fiction novel by American writer Robert Silverberg. It is a tale of the quest for transcendence (a frequent Silverberg theme) set on another planet, and includes references to Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad's classic tale of colonialism,[1] including the name of Kurtz. Its title references Ecclesiastes 3:21 in the Bible ("Who knows if the spirit of people rises upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth?").

Downward to the Earth was originally published as a four-part serial publication, starting in the November 1969 edition of Galaxy Science Fiction. It was nominated for a Locus Award in 1971.[2]

Downward to the Earth
Cover of the first edition
AuthorRobert Silverberg
Cover artistFrank Frazetta
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover & Paperback)

Plot summary

Edmund Gunderson was the Terran administrator of the colony world of Belzagor, and he returns to it after it has gained independence, feeling a sense of guilt for the way he has treated its dominant species, the elephant-like Nildoror, whose animalistic appearance had kept Gunderson from taking them seriously as sentient beings. On his return, he feels a new sense of kinship with the natives, perhaps more than for the Terran tourists. The Nildoror undergo a process of rebirth, and Gunderson's greatest guilt comes from having denied rebirth to seven Nildoror to make them help him repair flood damage. He encounters his old colleague Jeff Kurtz (an addict of Naggiar venom), who had undergone the rebirth ceremony only to be turned into something monstrous. Nevertheless, Gunderson dares to subject himself to the rebirth ceremony, which brings him a new understanding of the native creatures and new powers by which he can heal Kurtz and impart his new-found knowledge to others.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "1971 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-11.

External links

Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials

Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials (1979; second edition 1987) is a science fiction book by artist Wayne Barlowe, with Ian Summers and Beth Meacham (who provided the text). It contains Barlowe's visualizations of different extraterrestrial life forms from various works of science fiction, with information on their planetary location or range, biology, and behaviors, in the style of a real field guide for animals. It was nominated for an American Book Award and for the 1980 Hugo Award for Best Related Work.

The second edition has an added foreword by Robert Silverberg.After the success of the work, in 1996 Barlowe and Neil Duskis wrote a second book, Barlowe's Guide to Fantasy.

Frank Frazetta

Frank Frazetta (born Frank Frazzetta (); February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010) was an American fantasy and science fiction artist, noted for comic books, paperback book covers, paintings, posters, LP record album covers and other media. He was the subject of a 2003 documentary.

Frazetta was inducted into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1999.

List of fictional planets by medium

This is a list of fictional planets organized by the medium in which they primarily appear.

Lunar Landing Research Vehicle

The Bell Aerosystems Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) was a Project Apollo era program to build a simulator for the Moon landings. The LLRVs were used by the FRC, now known as the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, at Edwards Air Force Base, California, to study and analyze piloting techniques needed to fly and land the Apollo Lunar Module in the Moon's low gravity environment.The research vehicles were vertical take-off vehicles that used a single jet engine mounted on a gimbal so that it always pointed vertically. It was adjusted to cancel 5/6 of the vehicle's weight, and the vehicle used hydrogen peroxide rockets which could fairly accurately simulate the behaviour of a lunar lander.

Success of the two LLRVs led to the building of three Lunar Landing Training Vehicles (LLTVs) an improved version of the LLRV, for use by Apollo astronauts at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, predecessor of NASA's Johnson Space Center. One LLRV and two LLTVs were destroyed in crashes, but the rocket ejection seat system recovered the pilot safely in all cases.

The final phase of every Apollo landing was manually piloted by the mission commander. Because of landing site selection problems, Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, said his mission would not have been successful without extensive training on the LLTVs. Selection for LLTV training was preceded by helicopter training. In a 2009 interview, Apollo astronaut Curt Michel stated, "For airborne craft, the helicopter was the closest in terms of characteristics to the lunar lander. So if you didn't get helicopter training, you knew you weren't going. That sort of gave it away." Even Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan did not get LLTV training for their Apollo 10 mission which was the first flight of the Lunar Module to the Moon, because NASA "didn't have plans to land on Apollo 10" so "there wasn't any point in ... training in the LLTV." Cernan only got this training after being assigned as backup commander for Apollo 14, and in 1972 was the last to fly the LLTV while training as commander for Apollo 17, the final landing mission.

Planets in science fiction

Planets in science fiction are fictional planets that appear in various media of the science fiction genre as story-settings or depicted locations.

Robert Silverberg

Robert Silverberg (born January 15, 1935) is an American author and editor, best known for writing science fiction. He is a multiple winner of both Hugo and Nebula Awards, a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, and a Grand Master of SF. He has attended every Hugo Awards ceremony since the inaugural event in 1953.

Robert Silverberg bibliography

List of the published work of Robert Silverberg, American science fiction author.

SF Masterworks

SF Masterworks is a series of science fiction books started by Millennium and currently published by Victor Gollancz Ltd (both being imprints of the UK based Orion Publishing Group).

It began in 1999 and comprises selected pieces of science-fiction literature from 1950 onwards (with a few exceptions). The list was compiled by the managing director of Orion Books, Malcolm Edwards, with the help of "leading SF writers and editors" and the goal of bringing important books back into print. The list was described by science fiction author Iain M. Banks as "amazing" and "genuinely the best novels from sixty years of SF".It has a companion series in the Fantasy Masterworks line. A separate Future Classics line has also started featuring eight science fiction novels from the last few decades.

Gollancz officially relaunched the series in March 2010 beginning with reissues of the first ten titles. These titles have new cover designs (no longer featuring numbers) and introductions, and other existing titles are planned to be reprinted. Gollancz also added new titles to the series beginning in April 2010.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.