Start of a new series—maybe (Anthony isn't sure)—entitled Geodyssey, attempting to frame, in ecological terms, no less than the entire history of the human species: Now that's ambition. In a series of stories—often no more than vignettes—braced by paragraphs of quasi-facts, Anthony writes about two families whose members are continually reborn: firetender Scorch, his mate Ember, and their daughter, Crystal; Bunny, her mate Blaze, and their son, Stone. The stories begin in the days of Lucy the Australopithecine, and swiftly move through Handy Man and Erect Man to the discovery of Australia, Neanderthals, cave art, the discovery of America, the beginning of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent, an early city in Anatolia, war in Mesopotamia, contending Hittite and Egyptian empires, Etruscans and Romans, the struggle for control of the Silk Road in the first century, the T'ang dynasty in China, 13th-century Lithuania, 17th-century Kuba (Congo), India and Britain in the 19th century, and, finally, starvation and cannibalism in a 21st-century America beset by climatic change. Throughout history, Ember and Blaze desire each other, but something always intervenes—until the last episode when they come together and recall their multiple pasts. The prolific Anthony (most recent solo outing: Demons Don't Dream
, 1992) means well but all too often is astoundingly wrongheaded. Again, many of the stories here are a long way short of compelling—with the author's juvenile tendencies well to the fore. Amiable twaddle, then, intended for a wider audience than usual.
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