Beyond the Veil of Stars

Robert Reed, Author Tor Books $21.95 (318p) ISBN 978-0-312-85730-1
Reed's latest is a fascinating pairing of two science-fiction scenarios. The first focuses on the inexplicable ``Change,'' that moment when the sky suddenly inverted itself, casting back a mirrorlike image of the other side of the planet. During the day, the sky now looks as it always has, but at night no stars appear, just a clear bright view of Earth's day-side. Cornell Novak has spent his childhood roaming with his father and his father's buddy Pete on their amateur investigations of UFOs. Though at first the Change, by vindicating the elder Novak's odd ideas, seems to bring father and son closer, it eventually pushes them apart, and Cornell leaves home in anger. At this point, where another writer might focus on worldwide reactions to the Change, Reed takes a more intriguing tack, moving on to a second scenario in which, years later, Cornell joins a government project studying the Change. The sky-shift, it seems, revealed strange space-time warps through which humans can be sent to other worlds, though they are reconfigured in the process, taking the form of a creature indigenous to the new planet. Traveling to the world called ``High Desert,'' where humans emerge as rodent-like beasts composed of several telepathically linked bodies and one central ``mind,'' Cornell takes part in efforts to contact a powerful alien consciousness. Reed ( Black Milk ; The Remarkables ) goes on to add yet another dimension to this tale of first contact, paralleling it with the story of Cornell's reconciliation with his past and his father. With a delightfully strange backdrop and so moving a human drama at its heart, this may be one of the best science-fiction novels of the year. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8125-2406-2
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