INHERITOR

Third in Cherryh's alien-contact—trilogy? series?—about the humanoid alien "atevi" and the human colonists they've permitted to occupy the island of Mospheira (Invader, 1995, etc.). Now, however, the starship that originally brought the colonists has returned from a mysterious deep-space voyage. Bren Cameron, the "paidhi" or translator/technical liaison, the only human allowed to leave Mospheira and mingle with the atevi, has been attempting to instruct the starship's representative, Jase Graham, in the intricacies of "man'chi," the instinctive loyalty that's the only force binding the various atevi clans and factions. Mospheira, meanwhile, dominated by an anti-starship clique led by the deputy paidhi, the ambitious and meddlesome Deana Hanks and her patrician backers, is plotting with atevi rebels against Tabini, the most powerful atevi and Bren's sponsor. Jase is encouraging the atevi to build shuttle craft while instructing them in the nuances of faster-than-light travel. But why should the starship be in such a rush to get the atevi into space? Because, as Bren discovers after another near-ruinous showdown with Hanks, the starship encountered some unfriendly aliens in nearby space and wants the atevi as allies in case matters turn ugly. A familiar yet still impressive and more or less self-contained swirl of political intrigue, filtered though a memorably alien consciousness.

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-88677-689-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: DAW/Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996

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DUNE

This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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ENDER'S GAME

A rather one-dimensional but mostly satisfying child-soldier yarn which substantially extends and embellishes one of Card's better short stories (Unaccompanied Sonata and Other Stories, 1980).

Following a barely-defeated invasion attempt by the insect-like alien "buggers," a desperate Earth command resorts to genetic experimentation in order to produce a tactical genius capable of defeating the buggers in round two. (A counterinvasion has already been launched, but will take years to reach the buggers' home planet.) So likable but determined "Ender" Wiggins, age six, becomes Earth's last hope—when his equally talented elder siblings Peter (too vicious and vindictive) and Valentine (too gentle and sympathetic) prove unsuitable. And, in a dramatic, brutally convincing series of war games and computer-fantasies, Ender is forced to realize his military genius, to rely on nothing and no-one but himself. . . and to disregard all rules in order to win. There are some minor, distracting side issues here: wrangles among Ender's adult trainers; an irrelevant subplot involving Peter's attempt to take over Earth. And there'll be no suspense for those familiar with the short story.

Still, the long passages focusing on Ender are nearly always enthralling—the details are handled with flair and assurance—and this is altogether a much more solid, mature, and persuasive effort than Card's previous full-length appearances.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1984

ISBN: 0812550706

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1984

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