cover image The Magnificent Wilf

The Magnificent Wilf

Gordon R. Dickson. Baen Books, $21 (292pp) ISBN 978-0-671-87664-7

Dickson's latest (after Other) is unabashed space opera, leavened with humor. The narrative rockets into action immediately, moving dizzyingly through alien contact with Earth and into a mission by diplomat Tom Parent and his linguist wife, Lucy, to save the planet by proving to the aliens that humans are civilized. Along their improbable way, the couple watch their Great Dane, Rex, begin to talk; they also travel by spaceship to an alien world and to an alien governing council that Tom inadvertently joins by sitting in the wrong chair. The headlong dash from event to event is paramount; dialogue and characterization are credible, though simple. This novel succeeds as light entertainment, but it doesn't match the complexity or vision of the Dorsai series, or for that matter much else by this Hugo- and Nebula-winning author. (June)