SHADOWS IN THE SUN by Chad Oliver

SHADOWS IN THE SUN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another revived oldie (see Moore, above), following The Shores of Another Sea (1983) and Unearthly Neighbors (1984), featuring familiar Oliver themes--anthropology, humaniform aliens, alien contact--in an autobiographical but overextended treatment. (It previously appeared as an obscure 1954 hard-cover and paperback and as a 1968 paperback.) Anthropologist Paul Ellery is doing a study of Jefferson Springs, Texas, population 6,000: a perfectly ordinary-seeming small American town. But things don't quite ring true; and, after observing a spaceship landing, he realizes that the townsfolk are humans not of this Earth: they're colonists deposited by an advanced galactic human civilization, and they regard Earth humans as primitive savages, destined to be confined to reservations, i.e., cities. The reason the aliens are here, Ellery learns from the colonists' higher-ups, is that for all their advanced culture the galactics have failed to solve the problem of overpopulation! So they dump some of the excess on backward, ""underpopulated"" planets like Earth. Later, having been introduced to the lesser marvels of galactic civilization, Ellery faces a threefold dilemma. Should he try to warn the Earth (but who would believe him)? Join the galactics (and forever lose his Earth perspective)? Or reject the galactics' offer and stay quietly at home, confident that Earth one day will develop an advanced culture of its own? Well thought-out ideas, elegantly presented if rather implausibly motivated: there's enough material here for a provocative story, but it's a pretty thin stretch at novel length.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Crown