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INFERNO by Mike Resnick

INFERNO

A Chronicle of a Distant World

By Mike Resnick

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-85437-4
Publisher: Tor

 Third of Resnick's science-fictionalized African commentaries, following Paradise (about Zimbabwe) and Purgatory (Kenya). This time he examines the agonies of Uganda under the unspeakable Idi Amin and subsequent dictators. Planet Faligor has a splendid climate, rich soil, and an abundance of minerals; its inhabitants are nicknamed ``jasons'' for their golden fleeces by the first humans to arrive on the planet. Faligor is ripe for rapid development, and so--at the insistence of the planet's leading citizen, Disanko of the Enkoti tribe-- development proceeds apace. Elections must be held, though the electorate is uneducated and unsophisticated, and Disank's son Bobby carelessly loses to a dangerously totalitarian rival--who in turn is quickly deposed by a brutal soldier, Gama Labu; the latter institutes a reign of terror against aliens and a program of genocide against tribal-rival jasons. The Republic, an association of worlds in space, can't intervene, since Faligor isn't a member. Meanwhile, the horrors continue, under one dictator after another; finally, an honest schoolteacher--backed by an army of children, and advised by longtime human resident Arthur Cartright--prevails and reconstruction can begin. Potentially the most terrible and fascinating of all Resnick's African tales, but the upshot is too much omniscient commentary, too little character development and involvement. A pity.