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The Ascension Factor

Copyright 1988 by Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (3/5)

I first read this in 1991 and most recently on the 27th May 2011.

This is the final part of the Pandora trilogy that began with "The Jesus Incident" and "The Lazarus Effect".

Across the Universe, the only planet where humanity still survives is Pandora. If they fail to find the right answer on Pandora, we'll die here too. Raja Flattery, the Chaplain/Psychiatrist, is in command. His latest clone was decanted twenty-five years ago from the Hibernation tanks but this is an evil, twisted version of the original. This Flattery is an evil psychopath who thrives on the pain and suffering of his minions and the exploited Pandorans.

He believes he has destroyed Avata, Pandora's native intelligence, and tamed the kelp that Avata controlled. His Current Control organization has chopped and shocked the mighty kelp into unintelligence.

He has imprisoned Christi Galli, the human child of the kelp and persuaded all that to touch her is to die from a hideous poisoning bestowed on her by the kelp. He has built a new starship on which he plans to leave Pandora and find a world more suitable for his own desires, his insecurities. This he has done while his people starve.

But there is hope. The kelp still lives and is encroaching more and more on flattery's territory. There a few, a very few citizens brave enough to fight against him. Included in this number are Ben Ozeue and Rico LaPush and maybe Betriz Ttoosh.

In this far future Pandora, only three clones of the voidships's original crew live on. Flattery of course is one. Dwarf MacIntosh is the second. He commands the space station orbiting above Pandora. He is secretly allied with the insurgents. The other remaining clone-human is the tragic Alyssa Marsh. She lives a live of misery completely in the grip of Flattery. He has stripped her of her body, transferring her head alone into one of the Organic Mental Intelligence that will crew his new voidship. But she lives and thinks, bodiless, in a hellish existence.

And up in the mountains the Zavatan monks wait as they've been waiting for a quarter of a century, for the time to finally make a stand.

Loaded on the 26th August 2012.
    
Cover of The Ascension Factor

Reviews of other work by Frank Herbert
The Jesus Incident
The Lazarus Effect
The Heaven Makers
The God Makers
Direct Descent

Reviews of other work by Bill Ransom
The Jesus Incident
The Lazarus Effect