Returning from an unsuccessful three hundred year voyage to
terra form planets for their over populated home world, the
crew of the Fe-Nix discover that their world had changed
beyond recognition. Where they envisioned a hero's welcome,
from a more advanced society, they find a hostile and sparsely
populated planet where advanced technology has ceased to exist.
Fleeing their depleted and dying ship the crew abandon their
Captain to a faulty stasis chamber, but faults have a way
of working themselves out and Captain Rand awakens to a ghost
ship, a desolate planet and many unanswered questions...
is quite a small book at only one hundred and twenty-one pages,
and its biggest two faults are one and the same. The book
is too short for the author to spend time on describing the
physical changes to the planet and its population as well
as the psychological impact that this has on the crew. A sense
of strange wonder that could have existed, as we followed
the hero's journey through the ravaged wasteland that was
his home, is just lost in an over paced narrative that does
not stick around long enough to smell the flowers. Conversely
what could have made a good short story feels needlessly stretched,
though a shorter version of it would have betrayed too many
similarities to the Planet
of the Apes film: Crew comes back to discover
that human technology has destroyed a once proud society,
leaving only a changed climate and barbarism.
are an awful lot of plot inconsistencies, not least of which
is the revelation that the human population of Sauria is not
indigenous but part of an on going human expansion into the
cosmos. If that were the case, where was the ships and technology
that had brought them to this planet and why did they have
to send the Fe-nix out at all, did they just loose
the star maps of the surrounding systems along with their
ability to move populations? Also, its mentioned that the
planetary change had been brought about by a faster than light
ship accident, the only such accident to happen, the implication
here is that there were many such flights, so if they had
ships faster than the Fe-nix and communications technology
why not just send them a message not to go home, or even just
intercept them, the list could go on and on.
guess the main problem, in the end, is that the book borrows
many ideas but has little original of its own to say. It's
not that it is written particularly badly, though the overall
sensation is that of a much better, longer novel that never
quite made it leaving behind a fairly bland piece of work.
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