cover image Hope of Earth

Hope of Earth

Piers Anthony. Tor Books, $24.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86340-1

With this third volume of his Geodyssey series, Anthony develops an intriguing ecological perspective on human evolution as he traces one human family's rebirth throughout history in locales ranging from prehistoric Africa's Great Rift Valley to the Andes of the near future. As Sam, Flo, Jes, Ned and the mates they acquire experience one giant developmental step after another, they face inevitable dismaying reminders of how small humanity's steps toward living at peace with itself and its environment really are. Anthony debunks cherished notions (""the three thousand mile long Great Wall of China... is a myth"") with almost as much relish as he gallops through the ages. He boosts this slick, sexy, engaging tale with a spirited inset adventure novella of Athens' Golden Age that froths with action, his trademark gentle humor and unexpected love. Far bleaker and less palatable are his projections of Sam's extended family into a gang-ridden 1995 housing project, and his unconvincing conclusion, ""Dreams and Bones,"" in which pacifist and survivalist communities in 2025 grope toward an uneasy symbiosis--or else. (May)