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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

The Dark Wing

Copyright 2001 by Walter M. Hunt

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Mediocre (2/5)

I first read this on the 30th January 2007.

The zor are avian aliens with whom humanity has had on-off wars for decades. These deadly, vicious aliens are just about to break the most recent armistice and attack us once more. They just never learn, but then neither do we. They attack and we respond with superior force and hit them hard. We force them back to the negotiating table and relax. Meantime, they use the truce to rearm and hit us later. They target civilian areas with high population density.

Now we begin to learn why the zor attack us. It appears that for them the wars are something of a jihad - they must must attack us: it is a religious duty to eliminate humanity from the Universe.

Given that, some people in power are beginning to think that slaughtering the zor is the only answer. However genocide is not something the human empire can easily stomach.

Some tough decisions have to be made.

Lord Marais-Tuuen may have a solution. Naval officers Ted McMasters and Sergei Torrijos will follow him. But can they follow him into possible genocide, let alone into rebellion against the empire?

This wasn't bad space opera but it wasn't great. I enjoyed the battle scenes - they certainly were gripping. The mystery about Captain Stone introduced an enjoyable change in the texture of the narrative.

I didn't think much of the aliens: it was too tiring trying to remember the alien words, there was an odd contrast between names simple names like PALI and the bizarre "es" words like esLiHiShuSha'a (which is, of course, a prayer disk). A natural language has such contrasts but you don't emphasise it in imagined languages.

I liked the idea of the wings providing some of the alien body language, but humankind must have lost some intellectual prowess if it failed to recognise that these creatures used body language, specifically their wing positions.

I also wasn't quite sure how I felt about the aliens' semi-mystical trances.

Finally, once the aliens had become allies, they appeared all too human, which struck me as unlikely. I know humans less human than that.

Loaded on the 29th March 2007.
Cover of The Dark Wing
Cover art by David Seeley

Reviews of other works with covers by David Seeley:
The Eternity Artifact