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Paperback book, in English bought in USA in the 1970s.

Spaceman in suspended animation wakes up in underground city/bunker.

How he got there...

I THINK he was a crewman on a spaceship, and was doing exterior repairs (maybe in a work-pod.) Something happens and the ship warps out and leaves him (or it was destroyed.)

He then either lands on the planet and enters suspended animation (locals are either primitive, or he is not allowed to interact) or enters suspended animation and the pod lands on a nearby planet. (He is waiting for the ship to return for him.)

When he wakes up,

He discovers that his pod was found by a society living underground. The surface had been destroyed by either nuclear war or solar flares. All the remain survivors live in these underground bunkers/cities. They started as bunkers, but the survivors have been tunneling and expanding to grow and survive.

I think he figures out he has been hibernating for thousands of years, maybe 5,000. When his body was discovered, the inhabitants realized he was hibernating and so have been worshiping his body like a god waiting for him to wake up and save them.

The main thing I remember from the story, was that his body had been found so long ago, that it had been put in an out of the way area with someone keeping watch, kneeling and praying, 24/7. It had devolved to sort of a punishment assignment for young woman (i.e. nuns) to teach them to behave and follow the rules, and they did it in the nude. The young woman who has the current shift (8 hours? - 12 hours?) has been doing it for many weeks and is extremely frustrated and tired of being on this assignment kneeling and praying for hours on end for the god to wake up and save them, that she shows her displeasure to the God's body.

When the spaceman wakes up and opens his eyes the first thing he sees is a beautiful naked young lady kneeling in front of him. (Flipping him off, blowing a raspberry at him, sticking her tongue out at him, or some other sign of clear disrespect. I can't remember exactly what it was.)

In the middle of her act of disrespect, the God opens his eyes, and she freaks. He is amused, not angry, but sort of uses it as blackmail to keep her from running out immediately and telling everyone he is awake, while he questions her to find out where he is and how he got there.

When he finally is revealed to the other inhabitants, there is a bit of a problem with the city leaders (priests?) Basically he won't follow the script they want him too. (They can decide what a sleeping God wants, an awake one can say "No I didn't want that.")

EDIT: I recently found a cover that looks familiar, but can't find much info on plot description. other than the cover blurb. The Alien Earth (1971) by Michael Elder. Does anyone have additional plot info on this book?

Is it the book I described?

enter image description here

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  • How is the awakened god able to converse with the nun? They both speak English, or what?
    – user14111
    Mar 25, 2018 at 19:30
  • He was not really a God, They just thought he was. As for the English. I am pretty sure this was brought up also in the story. (Him wondering why they could speak his language) But I don't recall what the answer was. (Pretty sure it was not something like a universal translator, maybe something as simple as they had watched and read the videos/recording in his lifepod/workpod when he was found and all the clergy learned the language of the gods to be able to pray to him or speak with him when he woke up.
    – NJohnny
    Mar 26, 2018 at 13:40
  • Also I believe he was in Suspended Animation by chemical methods (a drug he took) as opposed to being in some sort of cryogenic chamber. Because his body was on display (on an alter?) when he woke up.
    – NJohnny
    Mar 26, 2018 at 13:49
  • The cover of the book "might" have had a ship in 3 quarters profile moving away (ie engines visible in lower left cover as the ship headed to upper right) with a small figure of a man doing a space walk floating near it.
    – NJohnny
    Apr 11, 2018 at 13:44
  • Recently found a cover that looks familure, but cant find much info on plot description. other than the cover blurb. "The Alien Earth" (1971) by Michael Elder. Cover: isfdb.org/wiki/images/7/78/THLNRTHJRD1976.jpg Does anyone have additional plot info on this book?
    – NJohnny
    Oct 29, 2023 at 1:13

1 Answer 1

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I found a copy in a book store, and yes, the book is The Alien Earth (1971) by Michael Elder

enter image description here

While doing a hull survey of the main ship, in a small scout ship, (both are traveling near the speed of light) something impacts his scout ship, damaging it and causing its engines to go full speed. The scout ship breaks light speed leaving the larger ship very far behind. (Scene pictured on the book cover.)

By the time he drops back below light speed, he has no idea where he is or where the main ship is. He travels to a nearby star and lands on a planet. He discovers it is habitable, but the natives cannot fix his ship due to lack of technology (early Roman era) so he returns to his ship and takes a pill to hibernate for a a long period.

He wakes up in more or less modern times, but again no one has the tech to repair his ship. He also runs afoul of the local authorities who want his tech.

He returns to his ship and hibernates again, waking up in the underground city, and his ship is missing.

The part I described above (waking up in underground city with girl sticking her tongue out at him) takes place in the last 3rd of the book.

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