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PROJECT FARCRY by Pauline Ashwell



Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1995
Publisher: Tor

British Ashwell's first hardcover (the paperback Unwillingly to Earth) is, technically, a ""fix-up""--that is, a concatenation of six linked but independent stories (at least one of which has appeared under the name Paul Ash). On planet Lambda live photosynthetic, intelligent, telepathic aliens who develop as pods on a certain type of tree. Earth scientists are unaware of their existence until young Ricky Jordan, himself a natural telepath, manages to communicate with them. And, to preserve the tiny, vulnerable People, the expedition members agree to suppress all details of their presence. Next, the injudicious use of an experimental Mass-Time Projector, a device enabling people to be shuttled instantaneously across huge distances, results in the disappearance of planet C behind a temporal disfunction--a barrier that not even Ricky Jordan's powers can penetrate. Meanwhile, on Earth, conscientious cop Sebastian Karel breaks up a particularly nasty slave ring, only to discover a criminal connection with the now-outlawed Mass-Time Projector, and realizes that he too is a telepath. Later still, Jordan sets up his own department in the Space Force and demonstrates that telepathy is the only practical means of instantaneous communication. Finally, laws having been passed to protect planet Lambda, Jordan borrows some of the People to help rescue the vanished planet C. Some respectable ideas, deserving of a more rigorous workout than they get here, undermined by the desultory and discursive narrative: a lumpy affair that (conspicuously) needs an edit and rewrite.