cover image Spinneret


Timothy Zahn. Bluejay Books, $0 (339pp) ISBN 978-0-312-94411-7

The vision of an enlightened technocracy in this novel typifies the attitudes that have won both fans and detractors for Analog magazine, where this and many of Zahn's other works have appeared. If that vision seems a throwback to another era, with it comes a welcome hardheaded sense of story construction. As a very late entry in the universe of spacefaring civilizations, humankind must settle for the leavings of the older races. But the seemingly worthless and metal-free planet of Astra has a surprise that makes it the envy and target of better equippedand better-armed aliens. This is millenia-old machinery that forges metal of unknown elements. If this narrative is overshadowed by more substantial books on the theme of exploring and deciphering ancient alien artifacts, it is nonetheless a light, brisk and entertaining yarn. Paperback rights to Baen. December