cover image Mid-Flinx


Alan Dean Foster. Del Rey Books, $22 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-345-38374-7

The delightful characters and arcane world-building in Foster's latest Flinx novel (Flinx in Flux, etc.) should thrill the author's fans. While Foster's plotting lacks subtlety--most readers will be a step or three ahead of the characters--the ever more improbable predicaments in which interstellar adventurer Philip Flinx and his pet minidragon, Pip, find themselves prove invariably engaging. Events become especially strange when Flinx, fleeing a shady businessman who insists on buying Pip, explores an unnamed jungle world, quickly discovering that the planet's ecology is intensely interdependent. The few humans who long ago emigrated there survive by their wits and through the aid of the fascinating furcots, whose symbiotic relationship with the humans is, unfortunately, more pondered than explained. The planet and its various indigenous defenses prove useful to Flinx as he, Pip and several locals are pursued not only by the ruthless businessman but also by factions from previous books in the series, such as the ruthless AAnn. While the main cosmological discussion here--involving the possibility of a physical manifestation of evil--seems to exist mainly to set up a sequel, the joie de vivre with which Foster approaches each of Flinx's quandaries results in a robust space adventure. (Nov.)