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Barry di Hoa had the good life on the Moon: steady work and the love of a good woman. But a rival slipped him a mickey, and he next awoke aboard Gerald Tscharka's ship as it neared the colony planet, Pava, eighteen light-years away.
Pava was the frontier, complete with earthquakes, primitive conditions and hard physical work. The local "doctor" wouldn't treat Barry's little manic-depressive problem without medicine from the Moon. And the Millernarist colonists, who thought suicide was cool fun, didn't thrill him.
Then he made friends with the leps. The large, caterpillar-like, odd-speaking gentle beasts were helping the humans to fashion a life on their planet. In their strange way, they knew things about Pava that might make the difference in the colony's survival. He started to believe he could really enjoy life in this fragile paradise. Except Tscharka was up to soemthing bad, something that would change eveyrthing. Barry knew only he could stop the mad captian, and the captain knew it, too. What neither knew was whether Barry could be manic enough to do it.
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Frederik Pohl has won all the major awards in the field of science fiction, including three Hugo Awards, two Nebula Awards, both for Best Novel; the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, also for Best Novel; he was accorded the accolade of Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. He's also won three Hugo awards as editor of the best magazine. He edited the groundbreaking Star Science Fiction series of original-story anthologies. He and his wife, educator and political activist Elizabeth Anne Hull, live in Palatine, Illinois.
Pohl's ( Gateway ) newest interstellar adventure inverts many of SF's hoariest old chestnuts, polishing them until they shine like the stars to which his ships fly. Barry di Hoa, an antimatter engineer who works on the moon, is almost the archetypal "scientist/hero" except for the flaw of a strange chemical imbalance, which causes him to become a manic-depressive if he is not treated with esoteric drugs. Barry is just about to propose marriage to his girlfriend when his rival for her affections kidnaps him and sends him to the far-flung outpost of Pava, a multireligious melting pot. A quarter of Pava's settlers are the suicidal Millenarists who profess to believe that the world is so evil that everyone should kill themselves and thereby reduce the incidence of sin. Pohl takes the time-honored theme of evil religious fanatics standing in the way of progress and adds yet another cliche, that of the "bug-eyed" monster--here given a benign spin in the figure of a helpful and friendly caterpillar-shaped Lep alien named Geronimo, who becomes Barry's best friend. The colonists' religious problems, disturbances among the Lep labor force and Barry's personal "madness" all come to a head at the same time. Although the crisis has a simple solution, the slight skewing of familiar themes gives a piquant slant to the proceedings. The novel reminds the reader just how much fun these world-building stories can be, especially when they are written by a master like Pohl.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Tor Science Fiction, 1995. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0812535189
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