Semiosis by Sue Burke


In this character driven novel of first contact by debut author Sue Burke, human survival hinges on an bizarre alliance.Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet's sentient species and prove that mammals are more than tools.Forced to land on a planet they aren't prepared for, human colonists rely on their limited resources to survive. The planet provides a lush but inexplicable landscape--trees offer edible, addictive fruit ...

Details Semiosis

Release DateFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherTor Books
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction

Reviews Semiosis

  • Gary
    Sue Burke’s debut novel Semiosis is an episodic novel that combines contemporary social science fiction with pulp-era adventure. A combination of Colony SF and first contact narrative, it tells the story of successive generations of human settlers – fleeing an earth ravaged by disease, disaster and war – on a planet they call Pax, and their attempts to coexist first with the planet’s sentient plant life, then with an insect-like alien rac...
  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum is a multi-generational story that takes place over the course of many years, following a group of human colonists who have traveled light years from Earth to settle on a planet they dubbed Pax. The first pioneers, made up of mostly young scientists and activists who were saddened by the plight of their polluted and war-torn world, hoped to start over and establish...
  • Lindsay
    Space colonization, first contact and non-human intelligence feature in this wonderful generational story with lots of crunchy science fictional sociology and biology.The planet of Pax has had a billion years more evolution than Earth ecosystems. Intelligence abounds, sometimes in unusual places like in plants that can communicate with the rest of their rich ecosystem and manipulate animals for their own ends. This novel tells the stories of desc...
  • Veronique
    I usually find books that have ‘generational’ narrators, the story jumping several years/decades ahead, a tad difficult to connect. Semiosis was different in the sense that it caught my interest early and didn’t relent. We follow a group of human colonists trying to start anew on a different planet, escaping the excesses and horrors of Earth. However this world of Pax has a very different vegetation, one that first puzzles, but ultimately e...
  • Peter Tillman
    An impressively thoughtful and original science-fiction novel. As always, please read the header blurb first. 4.5 stars, rounded up. Bravo!50 colonists flee a future Earth, wracked by warfare and ecologic collapse. They hope to make a fresh start on a new planet far, far away. After 150-some years in hibernation, they awake to find a promising green world below. The landing doesn’t go well: one of the landers crashes, killing 12 settlers and de...
  • Robyn
    Excellent SF with a focus on biology, in this case the relationship between human colonists on a planet they’ve named Pax, and an intelligent plant. Reminded me - in the best possible way - of Children of Time in the way it invited us into the interior life of Stevland, as the plant comes to be called, and the completely different connection the human build with it.
  • Justine
    A solid 4 star read for me. This is a first contact, multi-generational planetary settlement story that focuses on the characters and group sociology. I personally love this kind of book, so it was a winner for me right from the start. Such an interesting take this was too, with the sentient local species that engages with the human settlers being a plant. I liked too that while some of the expected patterns of behaviour do play out, there is a r...
  • Alina
    ***Note: I received a copy curtesy of Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge in exchange for an honest review.Wanting to leave behind numerous conflicts, warfare and ecological disasters, a group of colonists departs Earth, to create a new, better life. They decide to land on another planet than the one they set out to, based on very good readings from their ship, so they arrive on PAX (latin for peace) with few casualties. Here, they try to form a so...
  • The Captain
    Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .Well mateys. I learned a new word from this novel. Semiosis. Cool sounding word. Wasn’t sure of it’s exact meaning. So I be sharing with me hearties:semiosis : a process in which something functions as a sign to an organism.Yup, this book was indeed all about that. A bunch of folk from Earth have dreams of creat...
  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    Chek-ooo! Kak!'Semiosis' is an astounding science fiction read. There are so many ideas written into the plot book clubs could extend discussions of the book to two nights! Yet YA readers will have lots of action and suspense to enjoy. Only those readers who dislike generation sagas might be disappointed in the book. However, unlike many sagas, this novel is fast-paced and character-driven. The author concentrates on a few characters from several...
  • Jennifer
    So, imagine eating a bagel. When you're eating, you think, "Now that there is amylose and amylopectin starch entering my system, I should increase transcription of amylase-producing genes so that I can break down these starches into glucose and initiate cellular respiration to turn glucose into ATP to power my cells. Yes! I can feel my ATPase getting ready for action."Uh, no. I'm pretty sure this isn't what's going through your head (in mine: cre...
  • daisy
    I had high hopes for this and while there were aspects I quite enjoyed, overall I found it a tad underwhelming.RTC later! I need to think about it more tbh.
  • Cheryl
    Read as an e-book after my library acted on my suggestion to buy this.I have to admit, I am still inexperienced with e-books and I'm afraid that I don't process them quite the same way I would if I were reading the paper edition. So, I don't know for sure if I'm evaluating the different aspects of this the way I would 'normally' ... the way you're used to if you read my reviews regularly.That being said: I *love* the premise of this story, starti...
  • Kate
    Semiosis follows the first hundred years or so of human settlement on the planet Pax, moving between the generations of colonists. My favourite sections were the descriptions of the planet's animal and plants, both of which have certain characteristics that are reminiscent of animals and plants on Earth but, in other and more fundamental ways, are entirely different. How much more challenging it is for human society to evolve in its new home when...
  • Ran
    This book details a multigenerational saga on an alien planet which an idealistic human group escapes the conflicts and struggles of Earth’s society to build their own utopia: Pax. The hostile environment of the adopted planet and the succeeding human generation interpret both the intention, laws, and actions of those who went before them. Then there are intelligent plants which starts to make you feel like this is going to be Little Shop of Ho...
  • Michael Scott
    Sketch of a review:+ There have been numerous sci-fi writings about the value of a communion human-biosphere. This being sci-fi, the communion does not need to take place on Earth, and does not need to be harmonious or even successful (e.g., as in the horror-grade story of Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem). The cultural community of Japan, especially Manga, has taken up and expanded on a version of Gaia, e.g., Hayao Miyazaki's entire work in manga inclu...
  • Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary
    I read this as a buddy read with Jess from Storytime in the Stacks.Semiosis was an odd book that evoked many different emotions. I started out loving the book because of the sheer imagination displayed, but was pretty sure at some points that I was going to end up hating it. However, my affection for the book would gain ground again just a few chapters later. I can't say I outright loved the book, but I actively wanted to finish it - and that's b...
  • Judy Lesley
    Many thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for allowing me to read a digital galley of this wonderful debut novel.What a pleasure this science fiction book was to read. Author Sue Burke's construction and writing style actually made me slow down and enjoy this story she crafted for readers instead of racing through it like my hair was on fire. There are seven segments of the novel with a different narrator from a different generation to gui...
  • astaliegurec
    Sue Burke's "Semiosis: A Novel" is shallowly written, flat, and poorly characterized. I waded through 21% of it before it added in truly nonsensical and distasteful events. At that point, I threw it down in disgust. Horrible 1 star out of 5.
  • Roy
    Read 112 pages before deciding to move on. The writing is solid, the story is quite original. Colonists have left earth to set up a Utopia on a planet called Pax. The plants begin to rebel and cause problems, and so does the new society. The science about plants was interesting enough, but I wasn't overly sold on the characters or the episodic structure. Brings something pretty cool in concept but just didnt execute it well enough for me. Solaris...
  • Danielle Tremblay
    I won’t summarize the story. Many reviewers did it very well. Let’s just say that’s a first novel for Ms. Burke and that’s an awesome debut. Year 1 – Generation 1Grateful for this opportunity to create a new society in full harmony with nature, we enter into this covenant, promising one another our mutual trust and support. We will face hardship, danger, and potential failure, but we can aspire to the use of practical wisdom to seek joy...
  • Francesca Forrest
    This was quite a book--very imaginative, very thoughtful. It's a tribute to it that I kept reading despite some plot happenings that were pretty off-putting--I remained curious and engaged with the situation and the world, and I wanted to know how things were going to turn out. I really liked the planet, and I liked the difficult questions the author was tackling. (For more on that side of things, see my Dreamwidth post.)The writing style was ver...
  • Arkadeb
    More like 4.5 stars. Surprisingly good.
  • Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
    There were parts of this I like and parts I didn't like. I really like the plant intelligence. I liked the character arch of the rainbow bamboo. I enjoyed the world building and was surprised by the ending. I thought it would go down the predictable path, and it didn't.I am inherently biased against the way this book was told, though. This is one were the story is told via short stories. I always love the first character and tend to either hate o...
  • Debbie
    I have never read a story like this one - and for most of the way through it I was so intrigued by the relationship between the colonists and Stevland, the sentient plant that helps/controls the colonists (and other plant life on the planet.)As Stevland becomes stronger and more powerful - learns to speak, becomes a full citizen of the colony, becomes co-moderator, produces fruit to cure disease (and cause disease?), the question grows as to whet...
  • Em
    A fantastic, high-concept novel that addresses the question “what if a first-contact story, but with plants?” A diverse group of settlers from earth arrive at a distant planet and begin the work of survival with the goal of integrating themselves into the existing ecosystem as much as possible. Each chapter is narrated by a different character and Burke does a lovely job of differentiating these voices. The book ends up being a lovely, thorou...
  • Andrea
    An engrossing story of space colonization and first contact. A group of humans leave behind a warring Earth, seeking to create a peaceful colony on a new planet. Over the course of 100 years, we see them search for a suitable site, struggle to maintain a society based on peace, and come into prolonged contact with multiple species alien to them.With each long chapter the story jumps forward in time and has a new narrator, until the last four or s...
  • Donna
    Naïve colonists from Earth assume a new planet's flora and fauna will use the same rule sets.Pre-warning that this is a multigenerational novel that spans six generations and 100 years. This means that no one character is the long-term focus and that the narratives feel like a grouping of short stories. Typically this is not my cup of tea but Semiosis pulled it out. I was so impressed that I'm giving it five stars. I loved the thought put into f...
  • Avivs
    Highly original. Great world building and characters development. Loved it.