Shaman

Kim Stanley Robinson, Author
Kim Stanley Robinson. Orbit, $27 (464p) ISBN 978-0-316-09807-6
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Hardcover - 456 pages - 978-0-356-50045-4
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Hardcover - 456 pages - 978-1-84149-999-4
Hardcover - 464 pages - 978-0-356-50044-7
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Robinson (2312) makes a shift from near-future SF to prehistorical fiction with this entertaining but slight ice-age bildungsroman. Loon, a young man on the verge of adulthood, marks his birthday by surviving alone in the wild for two weeks. Returning to his “pack,” he learns various practical and artistic skills. He’s often as rebellious as he is studious, and as driven by teen hormones as any contemporary teen hero (using prehistoric safe-sex methods to avoid sowing his wild oats), but he matures when he falls in love with Elga, a girl from another pack. After their love leads to her pregnancy, they encounter complications that could drive them from Loon’s pack and his friends. Robinson creates a rich world, but there’s not much new (or much at all, really) in the underlying story, which is predictable right down to the final line. Fans of the author’s smooth prose and intense research will find enough of both, but the book is far outclassed by both Robinson’s earlier works and other prehistory novels. (Sept.)
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