This is quite a different book from most of the recent Pern books because of its leisurely pace. Its a nice read, although it feels like not much actually happens in the book. Unfortunately the plot is pretty much a cliche at this point — child has special affinity for animal X, parents don’t understand, child pursues said affinity anyways, falls out with parents, ultimately proves that animal X is actually super awesome and important for Pern, group hugs. So, this book is an ok read, but lazily plotted and nothing much happens.
This is the second book in the iBooks spinoff series based on Asimov’s robot mysteries and the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. Overall it fits into the Foundation Series acceptably. This book is a mystery much like Mark’s first Mirage.
I think overall this book is better written than Mirage, and is certainly better plotted than the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. The book is believable and entertaining, without having to suspend too much disbelief. I enjoyed it, although the book isn’t important to the development of Foundation Series overall.
This book is good science fiction, in the sense that it explores something which we are not ready to address as a society — in this case, would profoundly disabled people prefer that we could replace their disabled bodies? What if the replacement wasn’t humanoid? The book is pretty old though, and that shows in some of the elements of the story. I don’t feel it detracts though. The book is also composed of a series of independantish by related short stories, which was a common publishing technique for science fiction in the 1960s.
One story — “Dramatic Mission” — did throw me a little. Its just too out there conceptually, and actually kind of dull until about the last three pages, where the controller poses some interesting questions of Helva. I feel that perhaps the lead up could have been better though.
[award: nominee nebula 1969]