I don’t really have a roadmap when it comes to the books I read, it comes largely down to availability and perhaps more honestly, whimsy. The Man Who Fell to Earth is one of the wonderful gems that such a system has a tendency to unearth every so often.
The premise is simple: an alien comes to earth to escape the crumbling husk of its home planet and develop a means to rescue those he left behind. That was enough to garner my interest. I wasn’t sure what I expected, but there is no shortage of material in examining humanity from the outside looking in.
Given such a high-concept story I was unprepared for just how personal this story became. Sure, the plot centers around an alien working to find a way to save it’s species from starving to death, but that’s not what this book is about. The book is about fear, about the burdens we bear and the toll it indelibly takes upon us.
And honestly, how could not? What story could you possibly expect to tell when you entrust such a heavy burden upon a single organism? I suppose there are an infinite number you could tell, but only one would have any truth to it.
And that’s what we find here. This is a story drenched in the escapism of alcohol, a contemplation of failure, where the weight and want of the world cannot be properly born. It is an apocalypse wrapped in parable that explores the inevitable aloneness we all must eventually face.
“The strange thing about television is that it doesn’t tell you everything.” ― Walter Tevis, The Man Who Fell to Earth