Review: This book is notably dated, being published in 1971, and while that occasionally detracts from the story, over all, it’s mostly a solid plot with plausible characters. Elgin explores the idea that a people so isolated from other cultures can eventually live and breathe something as truth that is a lie. The people of Furthest have no idea what the outside galaxy is like, and believe only what the original colonist to their planet believes – something that hasn’t been true for 1,000 years!
The novel is short, and I think the plot would have benefits from expansions. Several times, major events happen in a few paragraphs, or major character growth in a few sentences. For example, Coyote Jones persuades another character to reverse a lifetime of indoctrination in just a few sentences, which is unrealistic to me. I would rather have events like this take place over a chapter at least.
Coyote Jones is a clichéd hero, although fits that classic Sci-Fi stereotypes from the late 60s / early 70s. A spy who works under the guise of a being a folk singer, he is a ladies’ man and a telepath. He’s also a failed member of a Maklunites, a religious group defined by living together, sharing all things in common, and having only open sexual relationships. Essentially, a hippie commune. Not surprising given this was written back when people still thought communes and free love was a viable social system. This is a fine example of classic 70s Sci-Fi, and worth reading if you find a copy.
Bookmarks: 6 of 10
Year Published: 1971
Date Finished: 1-2-2015