Camelot 30k

Robert L. Forward, Author Tor Books $20.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-312-85215-3
This cleverly conceived yet clunkily executed piece by the author of Timemaster is a detailed depiction of a manned mission to a bizarre alien world. In 2009, humans make contact with their first extraterrestrials and 20 years later they send a scientific team to their small, ice-bound planetoid beyond the solar system. Because humans are too big and too hot, tiny remote control robots are used to visit the cities of the ``keracks,'' creatures only a few centimeters high who resemble ``large, one-eyed prawns . . . dressed in fancy clothing.'' In their hostile, airless environment with temperatures near absolute zero (30K), the keracks have developed a complex society with a rich culture suggesting that of Arthurian England (the visitors' prime contact is the female kerack Merlene, wizard of Camalor). The human scientists uncover local thermonuclear mysteries with ominous implications for the future of the kerack race. Although Forward's scientific extrapolation is stunning, the narrative lacks a solid plot and his interchangeable human characters converse in a dialogue that often seems just a vehicle for technical exposition. Even hard-core technophiles will wish that Forward's storytelling skills matched his imagination. ( Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1993
Release date: 09/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-8125-1647-0
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