Harvest of Stars

Poul Anderson, Author
Poul Anderson, Author Tor Books $22.95 (395p) ISBN 978-0-312-85277-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 544 pages - 978-0-8125-1946-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4417-8897-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4417-8898-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4417-8896-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-4417-8899-3
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Though Anderson's ( The Boat of a Million Years ) latest offering bears the earmarks of a science fiction epic, the novel fulfills little of its promise. A future North America is dominated by the Avantist police state, while space is ruled by the vast Fireball corporation. Founded by entrepreneur Anson Guthrie, Fireball is devoted to a nearly libertarian ideal of individual freedom and laissez-faire economics, the antithesis of the Avantist policy. The original Guthrie is long dead, but his mind, downloaded into a computer, lives on to direct Fireball. When the Avantists capture a second copy of Guthrie, designed to travel with a probe to Centauri's earthlike planet Demeter, they have the power to destroy Fireball, using their copy to issue false orders and to force a crisis. Plucky Fireball pilot Kyra Davis and a host of other Guthrie loyalists race to avert disaster. The plot is flat, however, the tension deflated by trite, intrusive lectures on liberty and finding meaning in a high-tech world. Then Anderson introduces a bizarre development, when Guthrie decides to lead his followers to colonize Demeter. Despite Anderson's assemblage of all the elements of classic SF on a grand scale, the novel evokes more weariness than wonder. (Aug.)
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