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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Monument

Copyright 1974 by Lloyd Biggle Jr.

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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 1977 and most recently on the 19th July 2002.

The planet is a paradise: a single continent in a massive ocean; tropical weather all year round; beautiful beaches; warm and friendly people. It's the Bali, the Tahiti of the galaxy. But when the Federation discovers it, its fate will hang by a feather. The Federation will open it up, develop it and the natives will die as their food source is destroyed.

But the natives have a Plan and, led by the young Fornri, they will follow it absolutely. They believe that it will save them, even against big business, corrupt politicians and the Federation Navy.

I'd be interesting in reading the short story from which this novel was written. Thinking of originals, I had a lovely evening watching Star channel cable TV who showed both versions of Bedazzled, starting with the Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley 2000 version and culminating with the original Peter Cook and Dudley Moore 1967 classic. What a tremendously entertaining movie the Pete and Dud original is! '60s fashion, and Raquel Welch. Peter Cook, perched on a letter box, demonstrating why heaven is boring. Dudley Moore as Stanley Moon, trampolining in the convent.

Getting back to the subject of Monument, what a great little novel! I grew up on this stuff. Yes, it's naive and simplistic and it's not exactly adult reading, but still gives you such a sense of wonder as it proves that faith, in the correct subject, can bring salvation. This may well also be the point of the remade Bedazzled, although it may equally be that a Columbian drug lords may be rich but unhappy, whereas the moral of original Bedazzled is more of the humanity of angels, or the desirability of Eleanor Bron.

I enjoyed Monument back when I first read it, but was never much of a fan of Biggle, Jr. This time I enjoyed it much more - there's more to his writing than I'd previously realised. Read this gem of SF regardless of the appallingly misleading blurb on the front cover ("A terrifying novel about the final battle...").

I raise my glass, since it's time for a Tequila tipple, to Lloyd Biggle Jr., and his excellent hero, Cerne Obrien.

Loaded on the 19th August 2002.
    
Cover of Monument