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OTHERWISE by Margaret Wander Bonanno


by Margaret Wander Bonanno

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-09358-6
Publisher: St. Martin's

 The third in Bonanno's Others series (The Others, 1990; OtherWhere, 1991) continues the story of the conflict between a belligerent race calling itself the People and the pacifistic, scientifically advanced Others, with whom they share their planet. Previous volumes have detailed the two races' mutual discovery of each other, and the evolution of the People's attitude from superstitious awe toward the Others to wholehearted adoption of their technology, and finally to hatred and genocide. In response, the Others have retreated to underground sanctuaries in the polar regions. Now, having learned of civil war among the People, one Other woman, Lingri the Inept, returns to the mainland incognito, hoping to find a way to stop the slaughter. In an episodic plot, full of flashbacks and digressions, Lingri travels the land, meeting survivors of the horror and mending the damage as best she can. Though this is in a sense the story of an undercover mission in enemy territory, the emphasis is less on action and intrigue than on nuances of character and social interaction, as in the episode where a sympathetic group of mainlanders show a confused Lingri a melodramatic film treatment of her own earlier life. Fans of Bonanno's Star Trek novels are likely to be bored by this unhurried, nonlinear narrative, but more adventurous readers may find the warmth and occasional flashes of wit here much to their taste.