cover image Transgalactic


James Gunn. Tor, $26.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8092-0

Gunn's sequel to Transcendental starts in medias res with very little explanation of what has gone before. His protagonists, Riley and Asha, citizens of a galaxy-spanning federation, have been "translated" to separate worlds. Riley goes to a violent jungle planet whose carnivorous, dinosaur-like inhabitants immediately take him for a god. Asha is greeted by small, Eloi-like humanoids who insist they live utopian lives. Neither alien species has space travel. The protagonists try not to let these experiences distract them from their quests: Riley to kill the prophet of a philosophy called Transcendentalism, and Asha to achieve something even more mysterious. Having been rendered virtually superhuman by their translation, both humans soon find ways to escape their planets, searching for each other and purusing their individual goals. Gunn has written an old-fashioned and deeply philosophical space opera. The pace of this middle book sometimes lags, and it never really comes to a satisfying conclusion, but it should nonetheless particularly appeal to fans of Arthur C. Clarke who are willing to wait and see what happens in book three. (Mar.)