01/06/2009. Contributed by Gareth D Jones
pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books. 228 page hardback. Price: $24.95 (US), $29.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-48507-6.
more accessible, though there were still numerous references to incidents and characters from earlier books that presumably have more meaning for long-term fans of the series. Aside from this limitation for the casual reader, I found this episode far more enjoyable than the previous volume 'Trouble Magnet' as this time there was a definite point to the plot.
In the culmination of a story arc that has evidently spanned the entire series, Flinx finally has a clue as to the whereabouts of his father. He travels to the snowy world Gestalt where a small number of humans live in harmony with the native Tlel. Foster has done a good job of developing an odoriferous species that ironically have no sense of smell but instead can detect electromagnetic fields.
The consequences and possibilities of this sense are fully explored as well as the comparison and contrast with Flinx's own empathic sense. As with initially interesting phenomenon developed in his other books, the author does belabour the idea to the point of irritation. One does get the impression after a while that the reader is assumed to have a very short memory, so you are continually reminded of things that have already happened that may be pertinent to the development of the plot. This applies to both the plot of this book and the continuing theme of the series - namely the vast unknown darkness that is poised to engulf the galaxy.
The story this time round follows Flinx as he searches the world of Gestalt, following up clues and travelling the snowy mountainscape in search of his father. Apart from the abundant threats from the local flora, fauna and meteorology, there is also a contract killer thrown into the mix. The story moves along at a decent pace and maintains interest throughout despite the aforementioned irritations. Fans of 'Pip And Flinx' will likely be happy with the resolution of his long-term quest and the set-up for the series finale.
Gareth D Jones
Add SFcrowsnest.com daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA