Friday, September 29, 2017

More Stately Mansions - a philosophical sci-fi tour de force

Greetings, commies and interstellar colonists! If you have 30-45 minutes while your kid is in martial arts class, consider picking up this thrilling and thought-provoking novella by John Rosenman More Stately Mansions.
Captain Temple leads a mission to K22 and finds a beautiful planet with magnificent shining cities. It appears to be a lucrative new market for the Merchants Guild.

There’s just one problem: the cities are mysteriously empty. He can’t find even one survivor, which means the planet is off-limits to commercial exploitation and cannot be used to achieve financial profits in any way.

Soon Temple discovers an even greater problem, one that is strange and ominous and threatens his crew’s very survival.
Not only that, it is an incredible cosmic mind-stretcher that strains sanity to the breaking point, not just the characters' sanity but the readers' as well.

My thoughts:
This novella took me about 30 minutes to read. It is a concise, poignant tour de force of philosophical sci-fi in the vein of Rod Sterling and the Strugatsky brothers. It takes the whole concept of colonization to a new level. A crew of ambitious explorers - all male with one nonchalant and stunning young female - land on an unnamed and seemingly welcoming planet. But if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. There is a spoonful of venom inside that barrel of honey, and the crew members discover it a little too late. As a mysterious cancer-like disease starts claiming them, who will be the last man standing?

1 comment:

  1. "A spoonful of venom inside that barrel of honey" . . . I love it. One thing's for sure. The last man standing won't be a comedian. M.J., thank you for this thoughtful and intriguing review. I think I'll go back and reread my story.