THE PARADOX MEN by Charles Harness


Email this review


A superman/space opera from the early 1950s, combining Einsteinian relativity with Toynbee-an historical theory--familiar in Britain, but virtually unknown here; and, for this edition, Harness has updated the computerology--with one character, the ""Microfilm Mind,"" becoming the computerized ""Meganet Mind."" (Unfortunately, he has left the wretchedly inaccurate anthropology intact.) Earth in the 22nd century is polarized into an enormously rich, decadent aristocracy and a miserable underclass of slaves: an East vs. West nuclear confrontation is shaping up. And against this setting young thief Alar (the proceeds of his thievery go to free slaves), who has lost his memory, must solve the problem of his identity. (Is he an incarnation of the vanished super-scientist Muir?) Alar must also learn to control his developing super-abilities (nearly everyone wants to kill him); he must discover how and why a spaceship approaching Earth is apparently traveling backwards in time (another connection with Muir?). And he must find some way to head off the forthcoming nuclear doomsday. True, the overcomplicated, strained plot here leads to an unsatisfying, anticlimactic resolution. But this is swashbuckling adventure at a breakneck pace, stuffed with intriguing ideas and unusually well-developed characters: erratic yet refreshing, and certainly worth a try.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 1984
Publisher: Crown