cover image Purgatory: A Chronicle of a Distant World

Purgatory: A Chronicle of a Distant World

Mike Resnick, Michael D. Resnick. Tor Books, $19.95 (319pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85275-7

Set on the jungle planet Karimon as human colonists begin to dominate the reptilian natives, this intelligent, smoothly written but uninvolving novel from the author of Paradise is an acknowledged retelling of the European colonization of Africa. At first only noble-minded human missionaries come to Karimon, but they are soon followed by planetary developers in search of mineral and other resources. The exploiters play one tribe against another and mistreat the natives until their overlordship becomes intolerable and the tribes unite to rise up against them. Told as dramatized history, with the Karimons characterized simply as humans with lizard skins and the human characters presented as little more than old-fashioned stereotypes, the novel does not break new ground. While the parallel to African history has some pedagogic value, it makes for a thoroughly predictable story line. (Mar.)