cover image Quofum


Alan Dean Foster, . . Del Rey, $25 (286pp) ISBN 978-0-345-49605-8

Setting the stage for the final book in the popular Pip and Flinx series, this intriguing first contact mystery ends on a cliffhanger without resolving a thing. In an otherwise unremarkable star system outside Commonwealth space, the planet Quofum seems to appear and disappear at will. A crew of xenologists sent to study the life forms that enjoy Quofum's earthlike atmosphere and alcohol-laced water oceans are shocked to discover four primitive intelligent species so unlike one another that they couldn't possibly have evolved on the same world, as well as a vast underground complex full of mysterious technology. While this novel may fill in background details for Flinx Transcendent , expected next year, it's hard to see why one needs an entire book of what is, essentially, backstory. (Oct.)