WHITE QUEEN by Gwyneth Jones


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 From Jones (Divine Endurance, 1987): a multilayered account of an insidious invasion. In 2038, alien landers touch down in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Alaska, but so low-key are the resulting contacts that nobody notices the humanoid aliens mingling with the natives. Then Johnny Guglioli, a Typhoid Mary infected with a ``petrovirus'' that destroys the blue-clay cores of computers, and aging newshound Braemar Wilson communicate with the feminine-seeming unorthodox poet Clavel, learning of the aliens' apparent telepathic talents and remarkable abilities with living machines. But what do they want? Are they superior? How did they come to Earth? Unknown to Johnny, who has an affinity for Clavel, Braemar has founded White Queen--a clandestine group opposed to the aliens and intent on finding out as much as possible. However, when a White Queen agent attempts to take a tissue sample, the aliens kill her and somehow disrupt human machines across the world; war is only narrowly averted. The aliens, it seems, are hermaphroditic, have a sort of serial immortality, tell lies when it suits them, and understand humans as little as humans understand them. Finally, though most humans believe the aliens to be good and peaceful, Braemar and Johnny attempt to gain entry to their hidden multigeneration starship by instantaneous mental transfer, thus precipitating a showdown. Often hard to follow, what with the incessant shifts of character and scene, but the utterly convincing aliens are developed with rare skill and insight. A mixed outcome, then: deep and dense, rich and rewarding, frequently demanding and difficult.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-85492-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993


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