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Running from the Deity

by Alan Dean Foster

(Ballantine/Del Rey, US $24.95 / Canada $34.95, 255 pages, hardback, 2005, ISBN: 0-345-46159-2.)

Review by Elizabeth Barrette

cover scanThe latest "Pip and Flinx" adventure, Running from the Deity is an interesting digression in the pursuit of saving the galaxy from an ancient evil. While searching for a planet-sized weapons platform that might (or might not) come in handy, Flinx heads for the area of space known as the Blight. However, his ship, the Teacher, warns him of impending structural failure. The solution is to visit a shipyard for repairs -- which does not appeal to the fugitive Flinx -- or to set down on a planet where the ship can repair itself.

Flinx sets the Teacher down, as discreetly as possible, on a planet inhabited by a very low-tech nonhuman society. But he can't resist the urge to take one little peek outside while repairs are underway. (You would think by now that the poor fellow would've learned not to attempt a vacation.) The local wildlife proves especially intriguing, as it responds with unprecedented clarity to his empathic talent. All of which is well and good, until Flinx misjudges a jump in Arrawd's light gravity, and sprains his ankle. Not the sort of problem from which his minidrag Pip can rescue him.

This minor calamity gives the local aliens a chance to catch up to him, the Teacher's landfall having been less discreet than intended. The two who find him, Storra and Ebbanai, are more fascinated than repelled by Flinx's very different nature. But what starts out as a simple exchange of interest and assistance gets infinitely more complex, and Flinx finds himself embroiled in the local culture and politics far more than intended.

Running from the Deity is by turns introspective and adventurous. The world of Arrawd and its inhabitants stand out as another delightfully unique aspect of Foster's Commonwealth universe. This is a must-read for fans of the "Pip and Flinx" series.

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