WHITE LIGHT by William & Michael Capobianco Barton


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Another wide-ranging, medium-future science fiction yam from the authors of Alpha Centauri (1997), etc. By the end of the 21st century, nuclear war has wiped out most of the Earth apart from the US; a few brave souls, meanwhile, are exploring the galaxy in hyperspace starships. For a routine scientific mission, fate brings together a quarrelsome and uncomfortable bunch of characters: pilot and compulsive womanizer Wolf O'Malley and his two lovers, housekeeper Honoria Su‡rez and flight engineer Thalia Jansky; Honoria's teenage daughter, the alluring Cory; Thalia's husband, bureaucrat Mark Porringer, and her son Stu McCray. After approaching a UFO, they fall through a star gate and end up among the Pleiades, only to meet the nonorganic alien BeauHun, who report that the universe is rapidly being engulfed by an entity called the Topopolis. Like the BeauHun and many other species, humans can survive only by becoming vermin within the Topopolis. Helpfully, the Beauflun redesign their ship and install the machine-intelligence TrackTrixCom to navigate through the Topopolis. After various adventures (they flee from a RipWrapper but are grabbed by a PacketWight and lose their ship), the group eventually arrives--still bickering, angry, and resentful--at a vast construct, Galaxios, home to still more aliens and many human types deriving from other probability worlds. All agree to attempt communication with the Topopolis, but to do this they must enter Heaven and confront God. Stunningly imaginative, but with a constant, boorish sexual whine and characters who range from largely unsympathetic to outright nasty: whether metaphor, joke, or misdirected mind-boggler, it sets the teeth on edge.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Eos/Avon