CALIBAN LANDING by Steven Popkes


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Intriguing if rather unfocused alien-contact saga. Planet Caliban is home to furry, intelligent, arboreal aliens whose lifestyle is powerfully bound up with that of their trees. (They have no eyes and do not see by visible light; instead, the vegetation emits radio waves, which the calibi gather and interpret.) the crew of exploration ship Shenandoah expects to find no intelligent life there and thus are unprepared for alien contact; to make matters worse, one of their vehicles accidentally crushes and kills one of the natives. On top of that, the human explorers all have their own demanding problems; and the aliens, who have just recovered from a traumatic race war, fear the humans might be demons. Thus, neither side is disposed to trust the other. Eventually, the alien Binder and the human sensitive Antonia develop a method of communication--but their problems are just beginning. Competent plotting, believable characters, and an exceptionally well-worked-out alien backdrop support a somewhat skittish narrative that could have used more forward thrust and less interior decoration. But, yes, there's intelligent life here: talented, promising work.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Congdon & Weed/Contemporary