Books by Phyllis Gotlieb

MINDWORLDS by Phyllis Gotlieb
Released: May 1, 2001

"Gotlieb succeeds, resoundingly, in showing us how not one but several vibrantly detailed alien societies, whose individuals possess personalities and motives of real depth and conviction, clash, struggle, and attempt to prosper."
Independent, fully intelligible third and, seemingly—regrettably—last entry in Canadian Gotlieb's churning, splendid far-future, multispecies saga (Flesh and Gold, 1998; Violent Stars, 1999). The powerfully telepathic, ameba-like Lyhhrt face the world from inside humanoid-robot shells; since a lone Lyhhrt—they have no names—eventually becomes psychotic, they travel in bonded pairs, referring to themselves as "I/we." On planet Fthel IV, a renegade Lyhhrt plots to attack planet Khagodis, home to dinosaur-like sentients, in revenge for Khagodi refusal to help the Lyhhrt in their hour of need and consequent racial humiliation. And soon the renegade kills one half of an investigating Lyhhrt team. The survivor enlists former GalFed agent, human Ned Gattes, the philanthropic robot Spartakos (he was built by the Lyhhrt) and other warriors, only to stumble into a trap. Meanwhile, on Khagodis (the two developments eventually converge) the arrogant landowner Gorodek schemes to gain control of a region's valuable mining rights. Gorodek also claims the lovely Ekket as his bride, despite her wishes to the contrary. Another Lyhhrt contacts archivist Hasso for help investigating Gorodek's schemes. Hasso, unfortunately, falls instantly in love with Ekket, knowing that he can never have her (the reason is rooted in Khagodi culture). As Hasso toils faithfully, loving the ethereal Ekket, despising the boorish Gorodek, he's dumbfounded when a disembodied entity contacts him—perhaps the mysterious being that brought the Khagodis to their planet, along with an ark full of other creatures, for reasons unfathomable. Read full book review >
VIOLENT STARS by Phyllis Gotlieb
Released: May 1, 1999

Independent, fully intelligible sequel to Flesh and Gold (1998). Seven years have passed since Judge Skerow, a dinosaurian, telepathic Khagodi, and human GalFed agent Ned Gattes smashed the Zamos criminal network. Young Verona Bullivant, whose mother was captured and tortured by the predatory, spiderlike Ix (they secrete pheromones that influence the minds and behavior of others), is the adoptive daughter of the Solthree Ambassador on Khagodis. Soon after her arrival, the Ix break into the embassy and abduct her, threatening to torture her unless the Zamos trial is canceled. The Ix are known to have worked for Zamos, which also enslaved the amoeboid, telepathic Lyhhrt. Ned, assisted by six talking monkeys whose abilities have been enhanced by the Lyhhrt, soon rescues the terrified Verona. While Skerow and Verona go into hiding together, other GalFed agents and the local police work to discover exactly what else is going on. The Lyhhrt ask Ned to help them locate Spartakos, a shapeshifting robot who's rejected their entreaties and disappeared. After various adventures in the Khagodis underworld, Ned locates Spartakos; the robot explains that he's determined to help the O'e, degraded human clones produced by the Lyhhrt when they were slaves of Zamos. Skerow beats off an Ix attack with her powerful telepathic ability and meanwhile proceeds with her researches: What's the connection between Verona and Zamos? Well, Zamos turns out to be a criminal family/empire with tentacles reaching into every government and business—and poor Verona, like her mother, is one of them. Sharp, violent, pellucid: that exceedingly rare event, a sequel that surpasses the original. Superlative in all departments, but particularly the marvelous alien characters. Read full book review >
FLESH AND GOLD by Phyllis Gotlieb
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

First outing for the Canadian poet and writer since Heart of Red Iron (1989). In Starry Nova, the port city of Fthel V, circuit judge Skerow, a telepathic, dinosaurian Khagodi, discovers that her fellow-judge, Thordh, takes bribes. Soon Thordh turns up dead, poisoned by a court clerk who also tries to kill Skerow. Now, an amphibious, genetically altered woman, Kobai, captured on Khagodis, where she was an enslaved collector of gold nuggets, was brought to Starry Nova and displayed in a tank outside a brothel as an enticement to customers. Before returning home, Skerow notifies GalFed, which sends agent Ned Gattes, a gladiator, to investigate. Ned's partner, Jacaranda, is put into a tank with Kobai, then murdered as a sexual spectacle by Zamos, the company that owns the brothel. Skerow's next case again involves gold, and also Nohl, the Khagodi who brought Kobai to Starry Nova, and Nohl's homicidal human accomplice, Ferrier: The pair work for Goldyne. Nohl, having been poisoned, confesses, but the malefactors attempt to poison Skerow, too. Saved by her ex-husband, Evarny, Skerow—and numerous other investigators on several scattered planets—must establish a link between Zamos and Goldyne and bring the guilty parties to justice. Overinvolved but unflinching with a splendid array of aliens, motives, and perversions. Read full book review >
HEART OF RED IRON by Phyllis Gotlieb
Released: March 20, 1989

Sequel to O Master Caliban! (1976): a bubbling stew of ecological experiments, sentient machines, aliens and clone/family rivalries. For complex reasons, another colonizing expedition blasts off for Dahlgren's World: a violent, unpleasant, gloom-shrouded planet last seen occupied by ergs—sentient machines whose mission was to slaughter all animal life. Joining the expedition, naturally, are Sven Dahlgren, the four-armed son of biological-whiz Edvard, his doctor wife Ardagh, and his robot doppelganger Mod—along with three different sets of aliens hoping to found colonies. The picture becomes even more complicated when Prima, a cold-loving sentient meteorid, and her daughters, crash-land in a volcanic crater whence they howl telepathically for rescue. Some ergs show up, too, less murderous than hitherto, apparently intent on kidnapping Sven—or it is Mod they're really after? Also roaming the planet are various Sven-clones, also hostile. Can Sven rescue poor Prima? And what do the ergs want? Yes, with alien help—and a chat, respectively; the ergs, you see, have progressed rapidly and now desire to join the Galactic Federation, and in Mod they discover a kindred spirit. Churning, brisk, imaginative, often stimulating, fairly appealing work, from which the flaws here—an overabundance of ingredients, insufficient cooking—don't detract much. Read full book review >