Schonberger’s sci-fi novel is the epic tale of a Venus-born, half-Elvin commando who battles his way toward destiny.
Ooul, a soldier in the centuries-long Everwars on Venus, dreams of a child who will someday bring peace to an entire world. He’s noted for his “uncanny knack for surviving impossible situations,” since he twice escapes from enemy territory, endures years of captivity and, being part machine, emerges from battles unscathed. Ooul ultimately accepts what he believes is his purpose and searches for the Isle of the Peacepriests, while he and High Priestess Bio-1 bear a child. A dying Venus is abandoned, and the infant son is left at a Wyoming farmhouse where destiny awaits. The author’s sci-fi adventure is an ambitious effort. Ooul’s trek unwinds in a delirious manner, as he’s faced with betrayal, assassins and even a deadly virus. The plot initially doesn’t seem to have focus, but wait: These experiences, including a dreamlike story of dragons and Bio-1’s lethal reaction when another priestess tries to take Ooul as her own, are returning plot points. The novel stumbles on occasion by glossing small details, such as describing numerous unfamiliar machines and weapons; Ooul finds a Pinoptical laser “like nothing he had ever seen,” yet its appearance goes unexplained. There are also few supporting characters for Ooul; aside from Bio-1, the only companion who materializes for longer than five pages is already dead—a ghost, Arth, who pleads for his help. But Ooul’s son, Roger, is deftly supported by robust characters, including Joan and Bill, who become his roommates and business partners. Roger, who takes over the role of protagonist in the second half of the novel, must contend with familiar obstacles on Earth, such as natural disasters and the U.S. in upheaval. Ooul’s snags are a bit more diverse: Anti-Energy birds, whose prodding proboscises can make men explode, and the Mossmen and their thorn-throwing Vegewall.
A larger-than-life plot sharpened by a worthy quest that comes full circle.