ACTS OF CONSCIENCE by William Barton


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 Far-future multiple-alien drama from the author of Iris (1990, with Michael Capobianco), etc. Centuries from now, space mechanic Gaetan du Cheyne unexpectedly becomes the owner of a new faster- than-light spaceship. He speeds off to planet Green Heaven, a beautiful world whose colonists resemble unreconstructed Boers who care nothing for the planet's spectacular wildlife except how to exploit it. Gaetan, a loner unable to relate meaningfully to women, saves an alien Kapellmeister from being beaten to death by local thugs. Later, touring the planet in his new friend's company (Kapellmeisters, an ancient highly advanced race, have no names), Gaetan experiences the ruthlessness with which the humans treat the intelligent wolfen (captured and made to fight), dollies (used as irresistible sexual toys, they're symbiotically involved with the wolfen), and womfrogs (slaughtered for sport). Unsuspecting humanity's problem, as Gaetan slowly realizes, is that a powerful Kapellmeister faction feels that humanity would be better wiped out altogether. After a slow start, you'll have to grapple with a protagonist who radiates little warmth; nevertheless, with its intelligent speculations, intriguing scenario, and thoughtfully fashioned aliens, this consciousness-raiser clamps on and won't let go.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-446-67251-3
Page count: 496pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1996