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Walter Tevis

Walter Stone Tevis was an American novelist and short story writer. Three of his six novels were adapted into major films: The Hustler, The Color of Money, and The Man Who Fell to Earth. His books have been translated into at least 18 languages.

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The Man Who Fell to Earth: A vivid portrayal of alcoholism

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The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis

Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who has come to Earth on a mission. He hopes to save the remaining 300 aliens who are dying on his home planet. Since childhood he’s been preparing for this, training by watching and listening to Earth’s radio and TV broadcasts. Being mostly humanoid in appearance, and understanding much of Earth’s culture, he has disguised himself to successfully pass as a man from Kentucky.

Soon after his arrival, he contacts a patent lawyer and begins to “invent” the technology of his superior planet. His goal is to earn half a billion dollars so he can have the money he needs to fund his mission. He needs to keep his identity secret because, though his intentions toward the humans are completely benevolent, who knows what they will do if they find out there’s an alien among them.

But there is ... Read More

Mockingbird: A warning against drug use and illiteracy

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Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

In the 25th century, the human race is quickly dwindling. Robots and computers do all of the work while humans spend their meaningless lives in a drug-haze. From birth they are not educated except to be taught not to question their circumstances (“Don’t ask; relax.” “When in doubt, forget it.”) and not to get involved with other humans except to quickly satisfy sexual urges. Most people think they’re happy this way and any who become conscious enough to realize they’re not tend to kill themselves. A preferred method is to set themselves afire in public while others try not to stare. Getting involved would be “invasion of privacy.”

One person who is deeply disturbed by humanity’s decline is an android named Spofforth who is the dean of New York University. He’s shaped as a tall handsome Black man and is the last of the most sophisticated m... Read More