Copyright 2002 by
I first read this on the 14th June 2003.
A few days in the life of the near-future European Super-state. Aldiss shows us
that a united Europe doesn't necessarily make a better or a less aggressive Europe.
He shows us that prosperity doesn't have to make us better people and that on the
whole, people muddle on much as they have always done, sometimes surprising themselves
but more normally not.
Kathram, Rick and Alexy are astronauts on their way to Europa, satellite of Jupiter.
They are the representatives of the human race, our best and bravest and they are
looking for alien life.
Paulus Stomeyer is trying to find the biological basis for humanity's irrationality.
These two wonderful and hopeful quests are all but lost in the swamp of
humanity's greed and self-obsession, amidst wars and natural disasters, and of
course are not immune from suffering these problems themselves.
This novel's view of the human condition includes murder and rape,
infatuation and Alzheimer's disease, fanatics and bewildered robots.
Black and bitter but very funny indeed, Aldiss cares about us and this
mildly optimistic novel offers some hope.
I have to say it's a bit on the dry side though.
I must, really must, read some old Aldiss, e.g. "Hothouse,
"Report On Probability A" and "Greybeard" - these were very good
and, well, a little more exciting.
Loaded on the 1st July 2003.