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Semiosis

By: Sue Burke
Series: Semiosis Duology, Book 1
Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins
4 out of 5 stars (88 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Escaping conflict on Earth, an idealistic group of settlers arrive on a distant planet - Pax - with plans for a perfect society.

The world they discover is rich with life, but this is not the Eden they were hoping for. The plants on Pax are smart - smart enough to domesticate, and even slaughter, its many extraordinary animals.

To survive, the colonists realise that they must strike bargains of their own. But if they are to make Pax their home, they must go further, searching for a way to communicate and coexist with these utterly alien intelligences.

©2018 Sue Burke (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"This is top class SF, intelligent and engaging, and I loved every minute of it." (Adrian Tchaikovsky, award-winning author of Children of Time) 

"Sue Burke blends science with adventure and fascinating characters, as a human colony desperately seeks to join the ecosystem of an alien world." (David Brin, award-winning author of The Postman)

"Original, gripping and gloriously unpredictable." (Mira Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Parasite

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Amazing narration. Alright story

The narration is amazing and that's all that needs to be said about it. the story started off extremely intriguing but after about 3/4 of the way through it became essentially a war tactics / strategy story with very little substance. The ending was a commentary on some fairly simple philosophy. A but disappointing given the start but overall worth it

1 person found this helpful

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Highly recommend this book.

Wow! Absolutely loved it! Narration was excellent and the storyline was brilliant! Beware of the occasional shock factors.

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Some imaginative fresh air in SicFi

Humans colonize a planet where plants are the dominant species with several twists and turns that will keep you hooked to the story.

Plants with a conscience, a naturalist human group with strong female leaders, with a good human angle, exploring not only a planet full of surprises but also the fears and emotions in the human mind.

The glassmakers are a bit cliche, I think they're a missed opportunity.

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amazing and very original story

Loved it! Easily one of the best narration I've listened, the voice actors were fantastic. The story was very interesting. A unique take on science-fiction.

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Was a chore to finish

Loved the 1st half. Interesting premise and engaging. Peaked my interest as the story could have gone anywhere. Decided to look up the meaning of Semiosis and got worried... If the book decided to follow the meaning of the word then it could turn into a slog. Unfortunately for me it was true to the word and the second half dragged on and on. Almost didn't finish but kept hoping for a final twist or some redeeming feature. It didn't happen. Will skip the sequel

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I gave up

interesting concept but too boring and stilted. it was a bit childlike fairy story ..not interested to see what happens

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good narration, great premise, arc doesn't end

The narration is well acted. Changing voices between chapters really worked. The premise is really interesting and slowly unfolds really well. My only complaint is that it doesn't really feel like an arc with an ending. It's not a discrete chunk of a larger story but a chunk that was just arbitrarily cut off. Can't wait for the second book to come out

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Utterly incedible

Utterly incredible and masterfully put together. Incredible world building, just the right amount of self-indulging character creation. The dangerous environment and ever changing surroundings leads you to believe nothing is certain on this world. Up there among my favourite sci-fi books with Children of Time and Dogs of War. Can't wait for Sue's next adventure!

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Nice worldbuilding and POV from non-human

I struggled through the first chapters, not really sure where the story was going and confused about all the different names from different generations. As the story went on, I got more emersed. The worldbuilding is astonishingly done, and the way everything was connected, which was obvious through bamboo/steveland's POV, nothing short of marvelous. I really liked the steveland POV because it is different to a human's mind. At first I wasnt too sure about the narration but that was mainly because of the first accent. Now that I listened to it completely, I can say that the narration is brilliant. This will be one of those books I'll re-listen to on a regular base.

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interesting take on other sentient beings.

good narrators. keeps in line with the pace of the story. I never felt it slow down too much.

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  • Maija Kovari
  • 17-10-2019

Dark, slow and violent

Struggled to finish the book as the main characters keep changing, generation after generation, each living in a society as hopeless and dark as the one before.

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  • Charles Booth
  • 18-02-2019

Well performed and moving narrative

I am starting to love this genre of generational sci-fi. very interesting having the perspective of plants as well as humans portrayed. It was a bit dark and upsetting at times, but also heroic and moving.
I am shocked that this is Sue Burke's first full sci-fi novel like this and am excited to read whatever she comes out with next.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Michela
  • 10-12-2019

A riveting story with a great concept

The main idea and one of the main characters in this novel are utterly fascinating : what if a plant were as intelligent and self-conscious and civilised as humans? What if plants' chemistry and biology were tools as flexible and powerful as human technology and science? What if a plant could shape life and evolution on a planet? The story is far more complex and intriguing than that, as humans from a future Earth lands on a faraway planet and learn to adapt and evolve their lives and civilisation according to their new environment, trying to coexist with the (quite smart) animals and plants on it, and finally with the remaining members of an ancient civilization, all in the name of that peace that on Earth could not be maintained. Brilliant interpretations of the narrators, as humans' and plants' points of views alternate in the novel.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Rosemary White
  • 06-09-2019

Good concept

Three narrators, one superb, two.... not so much. I very much liked the whole concept of the storyline and it rolled along nicely but towards the end became somewhat lacklustre and the end, I thought , had no impact or real meaning. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations, but that's why I haven't rated this book highly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chris A.
  • 26-03-2019

Absolutely superb, excellent story

very unique story told in a fashion I've never encountered before. The science was spot on, the title perfectly reflecting the relationship of fungus, plant and humans. It makes you wonder what could be.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Theodore
  • 24-11-2018

an excellent one of a kind that makes you think

an excellent one of a kind that makes you think about our lives and perhaps we will not always be at the top of the food chain

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve Jepson
  • 13-05-2020

Semiosis

A good idea having the apex "animal" as the plants. A good read but felt the ending was too soon and a bit rushed.

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  • Marika Blackham
  • 16-03-2020

So interesting and well thought out

I love this book and the sequel! so interesting and thoughtful, with an intriguing narrative of humanity

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-03-2020

Great idea let down by narration

Excellent idea, great world building and the changes of generations was a really good way to show development of evolution through the book.

Occasionally the writing style was infuriating , many 'he said' 'she said' 'he said' dialogues that were just lazy writing with such expert narrative in other places.

The 3 narrators were good at showing different parts however the main drawback was the female narrator. Her tone of voice was sardonic throughout. Every character she narrated was twisted into a snotty mid Western housewife with a superior condescension of everything and anything.

Such a shame for a fresh and invigorating scifi idea. Glad I listened to it but will be checking the narrators more in the future to avoid the one of the three.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 22-11-2019

Very enjoyable - highly recommend

Really enjoyed this listen. story, pacing, and narration were all great. I felt it could have gone a little deeper very easily but the setup for a sequel is all there so hopefully we’re going to get some more.

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  • Ste
  • 12-08-2019

Looking forward to the follow up

Wasn’t quite what I expected but I enjoyed this book overall. Some interesting ideas in regards to the plants and their interactions. Looking forward to the sequel. The narrators were ok, some of the voices they did were abit naff and the female narrator had a strange inflection in her voice that sometimes made her sound like she was asking a question when she wasn’t. I got used to it after a while.