cover image The Eternal Enemy

The Eternal Enemy

Michael Berlyn. William Morrow & Company, $22.95 (323pp) ISBN 978-0-87795-963-2

The crew members of a spaceship sent from Earth to probe neighboring planetary systems are biogenetically changed by an alien race called the Habers into pseudo-Habers in hopes that they will help the aliens, who have no understanding of aggression and are being exterminated by the belligerent and vicious Hydrans. Through their newfound biogentic powers, The crew discovers that the Hydrans are unable to negotiate because they are genetically compelled to expand their population, and thus their lands. The solution may be a biostruct virus that will remove that genetic command; delivered to the aggressors' home planet, it should instantly remove the drive for more space. Their chances of success look good, especially since the Hydrans, utterly ferocious (if inept) on the ground, have never invented space warfare. and simply allow the starship to orbit their home planet. Berlyn, a computer-game designer and author of Blight , fails to provide any of the races with believable characteristics; the crew's motivations are unconvincing, and the pseudoscience is implausible. In addition, his writing lacks any eloquence or creativity that might compensate for these flaws. (June)