The City Among the Stars

Francis Carsac, trans. from the French by Judith Sullivan and Margaret Schiff. Flame Tree, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-78758-424-2
The first English translation of Carsac’s 1962 space opera offers a thematically rich, but jarringly dated, vision of the future. When Stellar Guard Tankar Holroy’s spaceship is sabotaged, the People of the Stars rescue him. The descendants of religious fanatics who fled Earth and now roam the galaxy on massive city-state spaceships, the People of the Stars hope that Tankar will share the technology that allows Earth’s oppressive, war-mongering Empire to track them through hyperspace. Carsac examines the interplay between politics and personal freedom as Tankar struggles to adapt to life aboard the Tilsin, finding it impossible to assimilate into a people who disdain all those born on planets instead of in space crafts. Despite the People of the Stars’ biases, Tankar’s resolve to withhold the information on tracers from his rescuers reads as pure spite and leads him to ruin. Readers might be able to accept Tankar’s overt misogyny as a similar character flaw, if it weren’t insidiously mirrored in the romantic subplots, wherein stereotypical vixens Orena and Anaena fight for Tankar’s affections. Devotees of classic sci-fi will appreciate this translation, but more casual readers will find the sexual politics difficult to stomach. Agent: Betty Anne Crawford, Books Crossing Borders. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/07/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-78758-422-8
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