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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 1963 by Poul Anderson

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

I first read this in 1970 and most recently on the 10th April 2005

The world is ruled by the neoconservative USA. USA Military Security defends America's perceived right to self defense. Military Security patrols the world searching for opposition to the USA. ruthlessly uprooting and destroying weaponry and conspiracies that may be a potential risk to the USA. Only China remains largely free from the USA's hegemony.

Remarkably prescient.

Now the Mars mission has returned bringing technology developed in conjunction with the indigenous Martians. Young, principled astronaut Peter Koskinen carries a marvellous defensive weapon, a force field screen that protects the wearer against almost all attacks.

Hardly the sort of device of which Military Security would approve.

So now Koskinen is on the run, accompanied by beautiful gangster girl Vivienne Cordeiro, chased across New York by Chinese agents and by the dreaded Military Security.

This is a rip-roaring read, a great adventure, and classic Poul Anderson with enough knock-about action to keep you engrossed while he tells you what the future will be like, how the policy of pre-emptive military action will not in fact protect you, and how information, of course, wants to be free.

What, me getting political? No, never, I just throw in some topical phrases to pad out this review because it's so hard, so hard to write it. I am distressed and lost for words. Still depressed, even after thirty years, over the fate of poor Vivienne.

What's it got? aliens, alien technology, politics and hard-bodied, hot babe Vivienne, standing up for her man, even with her parting line to him:

"But next to Johnny", she said, "I liked you the best".

It gets me every time.

Loaded on the 1st May 2006.
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