01/06/2009. Contributed by Gareth D Jones
pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books. 398 page hardback. Price: $26.00 (US), $30.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-49607-2.
check out website: www.delreybooks.com and www.alandeanfoster.com
'Flinx Transcendent' is the fourteenth and final 'Pip & Flinx' adventure, bringing a conclusion to long-running story arcs as the duo and their friends face up to the Great Evil that threatens to engulf the galaxy. This has been put off for at least the last two books as Flinx wandered off on various other random adventures while his girlfriend Clarity was left to convalesce following an assassination attempt. This book has far more sense of purpose to it as Flinx faces up to his destiny and finally gets on with saving the galaxy.
The first 150 pages were much more engrossing than the previous two books. Flinx is undercover on the home world of the AAnn, reptilian sworn enemies of mankind. There is much drama and tension as Flinx survives a series of scrapes and meets some interesting AAnn characters. Yet the only reason he is on the planet is because he felt like it. Like some of the other things he got up to in previous books, the enjoyable narrative is undermined by plotting with a very flimsy base.
From then on Alan Dean Foster starts bringing together characters and plot elements from the entire series, gradually building up to the big showdown. While some of these are intrinsic parts of the plot, others seem to have been brought in randomly, perhaps out of a sense of nostalgia. I'm sure long-term 'Pip & Flinx' fans will enjoy the trip down memory lane, but to a newcomer like myself it all seemed a bit contrived. Particularly when Flinx is once more saved from certain death by a complete coincidence of the kind that are all too common in his adventures.
The grand scale of the adventure in terms of both space and time are impressive. Jaunts across and beyond the galaxy, relics of civilisations that are millions of years gone and artefacts the size of planets are all thrown into the mix. The grand finale gathers pace and brings in numerous other plot elements to build to an enjoyable and exciting conclusion. Fans of the series will certainly be satisfied.
Gareth D Jones
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