Eternal Light

Paul J. McAuley, Author William Morrow & Company $22 (424p) ISBN 978-0-688-12757-2
Ambitious but disappointing, this new work by the author of Four Hundred Billion Stars is set centuries in the future after humans have won a war with a race of vicious xenophobic aliens at a distant stellar outpost. Towards the end of these campaigns, Dr. Dorothy Yoshida was implanted by a dying enemy matriarch with immense but difficult-to-tap knowledge of this ancient alien culture. After a five-year ``debriefing'' by the Navy, Yoshida finds tenuous freedom under the wing of the immensely wealthy, near-immortal Talbeck Barlstilkin, who plans to use her in an elaborate revenge scheme involving a renegade star on a collision course with our solar system. Along with veteran combat pilot Suzy Falcon and a schizoid cyborg mechanic and artist called Robot, Yoshida and Barlstilkin eventually become the crucial pawns in the endgame of a multimillion-year contest between eons-old civilizations. McAuley works best on a grandiose scale, creating both awe-inspiring starscapes and grand cosmological theories with impeccable scientific detail. However, much of the book is derivative, a farrago of SF elements done better elsewhere. This dense, difficult work has some great ideas, but the background is more interesting than the plodding plot. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1993
Release date: 09/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-0-380-97227-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-380-76623-9
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