cover image Balook


Piers Anthony. Underwood-Miller, $24.95 (197pp) ISBN 978-0-88733-069-8

Sometime in the near future, a lonely boy named Thor becomes attached to a genetics project named Balook. Born from reconstructed genes, Balook is a Baluchitherium , one of the largest land mammals of prehistoric times. When puberty hits Thor and Balook, Balook leads them to their female counterparts--Barb and Theria. Thor and Barb take matters into their own hands, however, after Balook is charged--in an improbable plot twist--with manslaughter. Faithful to the bug-eyed-monster tradition of SF writing, bestselling Anthony (the Xanth series) eschews his customary tongue-in-cheek tone; Thor's instant attraction to Barb, and Barb's prickly personality, hail straight from the stock characterizations of a space opera. Avid science fiction fans may enjoy this broadly done effort, but more discerning readers and followers of Anthony's popular series may be disappointed. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)