Phylogenesis - Book One of the
Founding of the Commonwealth
(Del Rey, US$24, 327 pages, hardback, June 1999.)
Rating: "A/A-": a nicely-done human-thranx adventure.
Good old-fashioned SF -- light and fun.
Desvendapur is a misfit, a third-rate professional poet on the
backwater colony world of Willow-Wane. Hearing a rumor of a secret
alien colony, on impulse he sneaks into it and forges a new identity,
hoping the weird, smelly "humans" will inspire him,
and jump-start his stalled artistic career. Inspiration he gets,
plus exotic travel, but at a very high price....
Cheelo Montoya is a ninloco, a small-time Tico hood on the lam
from a mugging that went sour. He's hiding out in the Peruvian
Reserva Amazonia, waiting for the heat to die down. He falls out
of his stolen boat, which chugs on out-of-sight, on autopilot.
Now he's hiding in a tree, after an unfortunate encounter with
a column of army ants, when this giant bug walks by....
Des and Cheelo make a wary acquaintance, and then an uncertain
partnership against the hazards of the jungle: jaguars, anacondas,
poachers.... and unwittingly advance the budding Human-Thranx
alliance. But the wily reptilian AAnn have an idea of how to throw
a spanner in the works. Tune in next time for -- Book Two, Dirge!
(Should be out RSN -- it's been turned in to the publisher.)
This is a very entertaining book -- light, fun, and action-packed, with clever
twists and likeable characters. A lot like the good old stuff we read
and loved when we were fourteen. And, for that matter, like earlier
ADF books I've liked -- I'd gotten out of the habit of reading Foster,
after several so-so books (and the appropriately-titled "The Damned"
trilogy), so I'm very pleased to see him back at the top of his form.
Familiarity with earlier Humanx Commonwealth books is helpful but certainly
not required -- and, unlike many such books, Phylogenesis comes
to a satisfying closure. If you happen to be new to Foster, or were
disappointed before, this is a good chance to see him at his best. Fluff,
but good fluff.
Review by Peter
D Tillman; More of Peter D Tillman's reviews can be found at:
SF Site and Amazon.com. Google "Peter D. Tillman" +review for many more!
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