cover image Invader


C. J. Cherryh. Daw Books, $19.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-88677-638-1

An interesting first-contact political thriller is buried in this sequel to Foreigner, but readers will have to work hard to pry it from the dull surroundings. Bren Cameron continues as paidhi, the interface between the human community and the indigenous atevi population on a planet that the humans colonized years before. Cameron's musings about politics and language take up much of the novel; these generally are not deep thoughts (``Hell, maybe human caring was a survival disadvantage. Who knew? It sure screwed up lives''). The return to the planet of the human spaceship Phoenix brings the promise of many changes in both atevi and human ways of life. Cherryh takes the reader plodding through the resultant conflicts, many of which are political and most of which would be more interesting if they weren't rehashed so often. This novel--which reads like the prelude to yet another sequel--is simply too static. (May)