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PURGATORY by Mike Resnick


A Chronicle of a Distant World

by Mike Resnick

Pub Date: March 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-85275-4
Publisher: Tor

 Not so distant: a second science-fictionalized account of Europeans in Africa--Paradise (1989) mirrored the colonial history of Kenya--this time focusing on Zimbabwe. Rich, beautiful planet Karimon is home to a technologically backward race of snakelike humanoids. At first, King Jalanopi of the dominant Tulabete tribe has high hopes of outwitting the humans who arrive on Karimon intent on exploiting its mineral wealth and potentially fertile farmlands; but, though intelligent, experienced, and capable, Jalanopi has little concept of the overwhelming resources that the humans, members of a huge space- empire Republic, can draw upon. Sure enough, Jalanopi soon loses control of his land and his future. Thereafter, though Resnick's details are fresh and charming, events follow a sadly familiar pattern: brutal exploitation by a private corporation; a hopeless ``snake'' revolt; further human immigration and repression of the snakes; a terrorist snake uprising, now with backing from the Republic, whose government condemns the actions of the private corporation and demands full democratic rights for the billions- strong snake majority; capitulation by the human minority followed- -despite warnings--by swift decolonization, thence an equally rapid collapse into bankruptcy. Another splendidly woven tapestry, the one drawback being its perhaps inevitable similarity to Paradise.