VENUS OF SHADOWS by Pamela Sargent


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Sequel to Venus of Dreams (not reviewed), an interplanetary family saga-with-power politics yarn, from the author of The Shore of Women (1986), The Alien Upstairs, etc. Hundreds of years from now, a peaceful but technologically backward Earth is ruled by the Mukhtars, with Arabic the supreme language and Islam the first religion. In a variety of artificial habitats in space--hollowed-out moonlets, asteroids, comets, and so forth--live the technologically advanced Habbers, whose leaders depend on powerful computers and cyborg links. So the Mukhtars, fearing to be dominated by Habbers, undertook a vast, ambitious project: to terraform the searing hot, acidic planet Venus. In Dreams, the project was begun, and an independence movement on Venus led by Iris Angharads was crashed by the Guardians, the Mukhtars' agents and peacekeepers. Now a new struggle is taking shape, involving Risa, Iris' daughter, her exiled Habber brother Benzi, and Malik, formerly a Mukhtar scholar with a computer link, now disgraced and trying to make a new start on Venus as a settler. Unknown to Risa, Malik was helped by Benzi (Risa despises him as a traitor), yet Malik and Risa will eventually marry. Compounding the settlers' difficulties is an aggressive and weird new religion, the Ishtar cult, whose members proselytize at every opportunity. So, as the years pass, relationships become more and more tangled and the political implications more obscure. Only dedicated fans of Venus of Dreams will relish the glacially slow, talky, improbable proceedings here: the scientific details don't add up, the familial complications do--interminably.

Pub Date: Dec. 9th, 1988
ISBN: 0759230536
Publisher: Doubleday