In an attempt to fill in some of the blanks in the Flinx backstory, Foster published this prequel to the events that took place in The Tar-Aiym Krang....moreIn an attempt to fill in some of the blanks in the Flinx backstory, Foster published this prequel to the events that took place in The Tar-Aiym Krang. It tells how Flinx was adopted, about his relationship with Mother Mastiff, about his beginning uses of his talent, and provides some context about his enemies -- information that was sort of alluded to in Orphan Star and The End of the Matter is more explicitly handled here.
Its also a really good action adventure novel, as Mastiff is kidnapped and Flinx has to use all of his skills to find her.
If you are a big reader of the series, this book does have some information that is not quite on all four corners with books that were written before this one, but which chronicle events that took place after this book. But, to me, that is the author's choice. He is reinventing the story as he sees it. We are along for the ride, and if you overlook those issues, its a sweet ride indeed.(less)
I really enjoyed this set of short stories by Foster. The car battle story "Why Johnny Can't Speed" is a cool premise that I gave to three friends in...moreI really enjoyed this set of short stories by Foster. The car battle story "Why Johnny Can't Speed" is a cool premise that I gave to three friends in high school to read right out of the book because it was so cool. And the title story is also excellent. Some of the other stories were also good.
I am not a big fan of short stories but this is a really good collection.(less)
I liked this novel on so many levels. First was the appearance of Skua September. If you like this character, he reappears in Icerigger and its sequel...moreI liked this novel on so many levels. First was the appearance of Skua September. If you like this character, he reappears in Icerigger and its sequel Mission to Moulikin.
As people who have followed the story of Flinx, Flinx is a mutant, who was being hunted by a specific group of scientists who had modified his DNA in the womb. The scientists want a success story or want to dissect Flinx to see what works. He is also being hunted by the government who want to "fix" him. He discovered in Orphan Star, the prior novel in this initial trilogy, who his mother was and her fate. This novel is both about his hunt for his father and also a looming disaster in the galaxy.
At the beginning of this novel a robot drone flying through space comes across the death of a star caused by a collapser which is moving through space and is heading for Commonwealth space (the human-Thranx led space world of ADF). Three planets are in the path of this massive moving blackhole and within 100 years the suns of all three planets will be destroyed with the loss of countless lives and economic might.
Flinx finds clues that a man seen when he was purchased as a slave by Mother Mastiff, the woman who raised him -- (see For Love of Mother Not and The Tar-Aiym Krang for further info) had a mini-drag like Flinx. Shortly before he leaves to go to Alaspin, to see if he can learn clues to the man's identity, he sees a show where an odd alien of four multicolor legs and 4 arms in the shape of a pineapple with alternating bands of green and blue is entertaining people. Flinx's talent reveals that the Quarm are hunting the alien -- the Quarm are an Assassin clan with a nasty reputation. When Flinx mentions the clan, the animal trainer is so frightened that he gives the alien, named Ab, to Flinx to take care of.
It comes to pass that FLinx ends up killing a pair of Quarm seeking to kill Ab, and now besides the others seeking Flinx, he is also being sought by the QUarm.
Flinx travels to Alaspin and after another confrontation with the Quarm at a cool bar scene, he goes out in the jungle with some info about the man he seeks and accompanied by a prospector who knows of the man that Flink is seeking.
Alaspin is the home to a native alien race which has a mean streak and a habit of removing the eyes of any human stupid enough to be killed by one of their arrows or darts.
Flinx and his prospector colleague are attacked by the natives, and in the ensuing battle, FLinx is temporarily saved by the man he is seeking -- Skua September (see Icerigger and Mission to Moulikin for more of Septembers adventures and then a ferocious battle ensues and ultimately Flinx and September meet up with some colleagues of Flinx from the first book -- Bran Tse Mallory and a scientist Thranx.
Amazingly enough the odd alien that was with Flinx is important -- but you will need to read this good book to understand how both Flinx search for his parents is at an end and how the "matter" is also ended.
The confusing part of this book is where it fits within the other Flinx Pip universe. It is a poser. But Foster wrote it second.
This novel stands on...moreThe confusing part of this book is where it fits within the other Flinx Pip universe. It is a poser. But Foster wrote it second.
This novel stands on its own two legs, and is a very good story. Read it even if you are not a Flinx and Pip fan.
The Vom, an evil entity of immense power and ability traveled into a galaxy controlled by the Tar Aiym thousands of years before the events of the novel. The Vom is a carnivore on an immense scale. Its sustenance, however is not meat, but the actual force of sentient life. It attacks a planet, and systematically devours everything alive on the planet until its a desolate rock, then travels to the next planet. The Tar-Aiym, a warlike superior alien race figured out what the VOM was and forced it onto a single planet, which was gutted of life by the VOM.
The VOM however then had no matter to digest and was forced by a special Tar-Aiym merged with a machine entity and guardian ships to never leave, where the VOM was stuck.
Thousands of years go by, and the AAnn, a reptilian galactic rival of humanity comes across this derelict rock and finds the VOM. Only seeing it in its most limited state, certain scientists take it to a world controlled by humanity's government (the Commonwealth), a world called Repler, that is basically inimical to the desertlike AAnn because its mostly water. The AAnn, a race of supreme confidence, start to do experiments on the VOM, not realizing what they are dealing with.
The Machine-Tar Aiym finding the VOM leaving, awakes from hiatus follows the VOM back to Repler, where a small capsule containing the Tar-Aiym part of the merged entity is captured by space miners and brought to the home of one of the more wealthy men on the water world --Kingsley.
Meanwhile, a certain starship captain of a trading vessel named Hammurabi discovers a breakin in his warehouse where he just offloaded cargo. When he stops the breakin, in a scene that shows Foster wit about fighting scenes, he finds that there is a very toxic drug called Bloodhype, mixed in with his cargo, but being shipped by a particularly repulsive man named Dominick Rose. Bloodhype, besides an incredible addictive quality is also extremely toxic.
In addition, the Commonwealth, which is controlled mostly by humans and an insectoid race called the Thranx have also discovered that there is an outbreak of Bloodhype and have traced its source to Repler as well. Bloodhype The United Church, a religious organization of immense power in the Commonwealth has dispatched two agents Kitten Kai Sung, a young beautiful woman and Porsupah, a seal like Tolian, to Repler where they meet with the local Thranx Agent in Charge, who tasks them with trying to track down its origins.
The two agents pretending to be rich playboys are captured by Rose's men just about the time that Hammurabi has visited Rose to get him to stop the drug trade. Rose threatens to have Russell Kingsley torture Kai-Sung unless Hammurabi gives him the bloodhype and Harrumabi agrees, but the Bloodhype is in orbit.
Subsequently, Flinx, who is working for Rose as a sanitation engineer helps Hammurabi and the agents escape again displaying that the young youth is much more than he seems. The quarter end up with Kingsley, who has the Tar-Aiym. The Tar-Aiym awakes and warns them all that the VOM is on the planet and must be destroyed.
While Flinx, who we know has special powers from the first novel, stays with the Tar AIym to "help", the agents and Hammurabi go to find the VOM to confirm its existence. They do not believe that the Tar Aiym is telling the truth.
They are captured and find themselves prisoners of the AAnn, along with Rose, who is also there. After a brief fight between Kai-Sung and Russell Kingsley, the VOM breaks out of its prison and starts fighting the Tar-Aiym Machine. Flinx of course helps.
The novel displays all of my favorite Foster themes. The characters are fun, the universe that we find ourselves in is well drawn. Further, some of the characters appear again in subsequent Foster novels. Also puzzle that must be solved is unique and the solution when it comes is cool. Finally, the very ending again illustrates again that Flinx is much more than he seems.
In my mind, this book was merely gilding the lily. I liked it because Ethan Fortune, Skua September, Elfa and the rest of the characters are likeable,...moreIn my mind, this book was merely gilding the lily. I liked it because Ethan Fortune, Skua September, Elfa and the rest of the characters are likeable, and Foster, does not write a bad book, but I felt that the confrontation at the core of this book, was just another nasty confrontation with the criminal element of the Commonwealth.
Stick with Icerigger and Mission to Moulokin, which focus on the Tran and not on a confrontation with more advanced Commonwealth, but if you like the first two books, and you want more of the main characters, you will still enjoy this third book.
The first time I read this book I did not like it that much. While Miles Vorkosigan is a great character, this novel, which focuses on his cloned brot...moreThe first time I read this book I did not like it that much. While Miles Vorkosigan is a great character, this novel, which focuses on his cloned brother Mark, did not interest me, and the slide into seriousness was also not my cup of tea.
I have since read the novel a couple of times, and it has grown on me. My expectations of another Miles novel may have been too steep to meet.(less)