THE BOOK OF THE STARS by Ian Watson

THE BOOK OF THE STARS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

No, not Hollywood glitz, but part II of what is now a projected trilogy, following The Book of the River (1985), Watson's unlikely saga about a distant planet whose two peoples are separated by a river and a gigantic, godlike Worm. The war over, narrator Yaleen returns to her parents' home to ponder what she has learned about the Worm--where she's soon murdered by an old foe, the evil Doctor Edrick. Yaleen, already connected to the Worm's store of ""kas"" (souls), doesn't die; instead, she's drawn through ""Ka-space"" to planet Eeden (Earth), there to be reborn in a child's body as a ""cherub."" She finds herself in the company of many cherubs, all reborn from distant worlds whose inhabitants were planted long ago as colonists by robot ships. Maintaining the cosmic connections on Eeden is the Godmind, a none-too-bright artificial intelligence which has escaped human control and plans to use the minds it has entangled as a cosmic lens to peer into the uttermost reaches of the universe--unfortunately killing everyone in the process. After various adventures, cherub Yaleen joins a resistance group, incites an anti-Godmind riot, then is captured and sent into exile on the Moon, whence the only escape is for Yaleen to die. So, thanks to her contract with the Worm, Yaleen is drawn home--only to be reborn as her own sister! Inventive but strained, with shaky foundations often unable to sustain the wildly improbable cosmic convolutions.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1986
Publisher: Victor Gollancz--dist. by David & Charles