Cold Allies

Patricia Anthony, Author
Patricia Anthony, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $21.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-15-118503-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-441-00018-0
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This erratic first novel by the author of many SF short stories takes place in the near future during a European war fought entirely with non-nuclear weapons. The greenhouse effect has led to crop failure and famine across the world and especially in the Middle East, whose Arab nations have banded together to invade Europe. Short on fuel and food, with only limited help provided by the U.S. and an isolationist Russia, the continent seems doomed. But alien observers in the form of blue light-spheres have been sighted on the battlefield, drinking the blood of the wounded; if they can be talked or tricked into helping the Europeans, there might still be a chance. Anthony piles one facile political assumption on another to create an unconvincing future world; her pacing is inconsistent, her writing rough around the edges and her aliens poorly defined. Nonetheless, true emotions occasionally burst out from her sympathetic and very human characters. (Apr.)
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