|World Enough, and Time
reviewed by Michæl W. Bard
|Title:||World Enough, and Time|
|Publisher:||Ballantine Books, Jan 198o|
|Sequels:||Times Dark Laughter, Timefall|
The novel starts with a brief character introduction: A centaur and a human are friends, each have human wives, and the human has a family. The pair are away on a hunting trip when evil forces kidnap their wives and children, killing the other males in the household. The pair swear both revenge on the kidnappers, and to recover their families. All in all, it sounds like a fairly standard fantasy quest
but! It turns out that the novel is not fantasy; rather, its science-fiction which occurs in the future. You cant really call it hard SF, but its definitely in the genre.
And then it gets interesting. More characters are introduced and the world is fleshed out. Beasts have the mind of man, wars have occurred, civilization has collapsed, and man is dying out. All kinds of creatures are encountered, background is given, humans that were born in the 20th century but later had their brains transplanted into android bodies are introduced, and the novel meanders to the successful conclusion of the quest. Though, by the end, the quest doesnt really matter anymore.
Its not a happy novel. Major characters die; people change, grow, decay. Civilization is destroyed, and histories wiped out by the revelation of truths. And yet, its fascinatingfull of wondrous ideas and visions and thoughts.
Ever since I read it, its always stayed in the back of my minds. Ideas from it have snuck their way into my fiction. Its not perfect, but it is a fascinating page-turner of ideas. Enjoy it, treasure it and ignore its two sequels.
Ive only read the second book, and while it does have the same characters at the first, it sucks. Its nowhere near as good as the original, and its ending invalidates a lot of the impact of the first book. As for the third volume, Ive heard nothing good about it; it apparently uses a completely different set of characters, and has no furry content. Ignore the second and third books, or read them at your own risk if you really, really want. Theyre not recommended; the first one is.
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