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Publisher's Summary

Thousands of years after mankind has become extinct, a party of alien archaeologists try to learn the mysteries of mankind as they excavate in a gorge on Earth. This Hugo and Nebula Award winning novella by Mike Resnick is a gripping exploration of human origins and motivations.
©1994 by Mike Resnick; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

Nebula Award, Best Novella, 1994

Hugo Award, Best Novella, 1995
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Eric C. Stover on 12-05-09


This is essentially a sequel to, or the unwritten extended ending to, Resnick's earlier defining work Birthright: The Book of Man. If you enjoyed that, this is a must read. If you've not yet had the pleasure, pick that up first.

I started listening to this not realizing this. I was still captivated and enthralled. I love this piece. When I realized the connection it got even better.

While it certainly stands tall on its own, I believe it's best understood with the full background laid out in Birthright. If you read in it only a depressing epilogue consider first the glory, determination, and hubris that preceded it.

If you still don't buy my review next to the negatives, don't miss the notes of it's winning both the Hugo and the Nebula awards.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By crazybatcow on 07-13-09

Short and interesting look at humanity

Essentially, a coalition of alien races is exploring the site where humankind originated (Olduvai Gorge) and discovering some "examples" of (now extinct) mankind's history. As the title would indicate, there are 7 examples of man's past (pre-historic, ancient, modern, future) - all of which indicate just how ruthless, power-hungry and destructive mankind is.

It's not told in a depressing manner, but there are no "good" moments; humankind's worse moments are shown here, possibly because those are the moments that will be best remembered by future generations?

The narrator is okay. The story is short (and perhaps overpriced for such a short story?) but it's interesting and entertaining and I'm glad I listened to it.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Sharon on 06-28-08

Are we really like this??

I was hooked - listened to it all in one go (with the odd cup of tea) because I just had to know what all the 'views' were and what the 'conclusion' would be - and the book certainly didn't disappoint. Quite depressing in a way as the story portrays humans as being incredibly bellicose and permanently on a course to 'self destruct'. Made me think 'Is this an accurate social commentary? Are we really that bad?'. Maybe we are. So, a very interesting listen and thought provoking too. Well worth it.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Matthew on 08-25-08

Most enjoyable

I listened to this within minutes of purchasing it and was hooked from start to finish. With shades of 2001: A Space Odeseey and plenty to say on African oppression and the violence of man, this really was riveting.

I must admit I saw the ending coming a mile off, but it never the less brought the story full circle.

When it finished I simply commented, to no one in particular, 'good stuff!'

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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