There Is No Darkness
Copyright 1983 by
I first read this in 1986 and most recently on the 8th March 2002
Carl Bok is a citizen of Springworld, the heavy-gravity planet
with monstrous and dangerous flora and fauna. Carl is well over two metres
tall and weighs-in at 180 kilograms.
Now Carl has won a scholarship to Starschool. He'll spend a year on
this touring school, visiting sixteen of the colonised planets. This
will be the experience of a lifetime.
It's tough enough for Carl as the poor scholarship student among the rich kids. His problems get worse when they arrive at Earth. Carl finds himself in urgent need of big money and, since he's a pretty tough guy,
becomes a paid fighter. He has to fight dangerous and deadly human and animal
opponents. His fellow students, B'oosa, Miko, Alegria and Francisco "Pancho"
Bolivar, get caught up in his exploits.
And then there are the aliens.
This is a coming-of-age novel. Our gentlemanly and naive country boy learns
that the big city (in the guise of the various planets visited) can be a lot
more unpleasant than he expected.
I enjoyed this more the first time I read it, back in the '80s. It's not one
of the Haldemans' best novels. It also written for a younger audience than
Joe's other books.
It's clearly a man's world in the future - the guys are rough and tough and
apparently experienced at hand-to-hand fighting and the women are
non-entities. It's rather sexless world (perhaps that's why the guys fight
all the time?). It's also something of a contrived world and I couldn't
for the life of me see why this group of students were so willing to go
along with everything, at such risk to their health and life.
So what's it got? aliens, some fighting and a pretentious title. Pah.
Loaded on the 10th April 2002.