HALF A LIFE and Other Stories by Kirill Bulychev

HALF A LIFE and Other Stories

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The previous entries in Macmillan's Soviet science fiction series, the three extraordinary novels of the brothers Strugatsky (pp. 248, 695), understandably make lesser lights appear to unfair disadvantage. Still, Bulychev seems to be a pretty run-of-the-mill sci-fi writer by any standard. His situations range from the romantic to the whimsical. A young man falls in love with an alien ""snow-maiden"", of hopelessly incompatible chemistry; an injured survivor of an earthquake mentally guides a memory-transplant recipient to the spot where others are trapped; a racer with an unfortunate tendency to win races through metamor-phosis tries to qualify for the Olympics; These ideas are worked out tidily but very tamely, For the most part; Bulychev's people are amiable ciphers. Only the title story (where a woman kidnapped by offworld specimen-hunters tries to free a band of alien fellow-prisoners)achieves much warmth; and only the provocative ""Red Deer; White Deer"" (involving a decisive moment of evolutionary change in a savage race) achieves much intellectual dimension. But on the whole, the origin of this book is by far the most interesting thing about it.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Macmillan