The Lazarus Effect
Copyright 1983 by
I first read this in 1985 and most recently on the 9th January 2003
On the ocean world of Pandora, mutant humanity diversified into two
groupings, the Islanders and the Mermen. The Islanders tolerate
any mutation, any deformity, as long as it is not dangerous to the
community. The Mermen strive for their vision of pure humanity,
revolted by mutations, seeking perfection.
The Islanders have adapted to the ocean life-style,
going with the currents on their great living islands. Their lives
are often harsh, difficult and short, there are too many deformed,
maladapted people and too little space, too little food.
The Mermen have rebuilt a high-tech environment beneath the sea. They
struggle to restore the old Pandora, as it existed
when humans first arrived. To achieve this, they must
recreate the land, make islands in this wide ocean.
However, both societies have adapted to a world without surface
land and they may no longer be willing or able to readapt.
The Mermen strive also and restore consciousness to the
world-spanning Kelp, but in the early days on Pandora it was this
self-aware Kelp that threatened humanity and it was humanity that
Well, of course, Dune was so massively successful that everything
else he wrote got completely ignored. Odd that. You'd expect the
publishers to promote other Herbert books along with the successful
ones, maybe they'd get another hit series. Still I'm not a
This is the sequel to "The Jesus Incident" which apparently itself was a
sequel to "Destination Void" a book about which I'd completely forgotten.
The final novel in this series is "The Ascension Factor".
See, here's a series that's got everything a publisher could want.
Look at the title of the first book "Destination: Void".
'Destination' clearly indicates a strong sense of direction.
'Void' succinctly expresses the essential nullity of youth
culture (at least the perennial adult perception of it) so this
novel should be appealing to a youth audience. Additionally the
sequels provide a good strong dose of orthodox religion
in their titles. And hold on, those last two titles
sound remarkably similar to some of Robert Ludlum's thrillers, so
they'd also tap into that market.
A publisher wouldn't even have to read the books to know he was
onto a winner.
I've been a fan of Mr Herbert since, well, in fact probably since
I was a little slow in reading "Dune", after all it was rather thick,
but good though it was I still preferred novels like
the "Dosadi Experiment" and "Hellstrom's Hive".
I'm a fan of his writing style with those perplexing quotations
introducing the chapters and the protagonists' observations
printed in italic text, just so dumbos like
me wouldn't miss them. Together these mechanisms implied depths of perception
that I, in my normal superficiality, simply missed. His writing
always made me think that, if I just read the book more carefully,
I could get so much more out of it. Indeed his writing also made
me feel the same applied to life and social interaction - that there
was a level of communication to which I was simply deaf and that
attention to and mastery of it would give me knowledge and power. Of course,
it didn't work out like that. Nowadays I pay so much attention to
non-verbal queues that I lose track of the conversation. Most of the
time I don't even speak, just stare voicelessly at the other person,
raising my eyebrow to the twitch in their cheek. but nothing is communicated.
Loaded on the 31st January 2003.