THE FOREVER MAN by Gordon R. Dickson


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Soggy space-adventure from the author of, most recently, The Final Encyclopedia (1984). Longstanding hostilities between Earth and the alien Laagi have subsided into an uneasy standoff; then an Earth ship, which vanished during a battle 200 years ago, reappears. Somehow the pilot's personality, though mad, has been imprinted onto the fabric of the ship itself; he is, in a sense, still alive. So the powers-that-be decide to try and re-create the ""intelligent spaceship"" phenomenon using irascible, burnt-out space-fighter pilot Jim Wander as their unknowing subject. The experiment succeeds, Jim becomes a disembodied mind inhabiting his spaceship; and, along with the equally disembodied ice-maiden psychologist Mary Gallegher, he proceeds into Laagi territory on a secret mission. (Jim thinks they're to skirt Laagi territory in order to locate planets for colonization; Mary knows the real mission is to allow themselves to be captured by the Laagi so they can study the aliens--who won't suspect Mary's and Jim's body-less existence.) The Laagi turn out to be uninteresting creatures, with a communal lifestyle and a work ethic that puts the Puritans to shame. Later, Mary and Jim meet some more aliens out in space; these are disembodied, cute, and chatty, and don't like the Laagi much. Eventually Jim realizes that the humans' role will be to mediate between the Laagi and the disembodied aliens. Sluggish, talky, and trite, with dull aliens, undramatic doings and a general air of sleepwalking.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Ace/Berkley