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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Thou art God" -- travelers in a very strange land
If my title has you thinking that this is another "Stranger in a Strange Land", it is and it isn't. There's a lot less sex, and a lot more action. Heinlein was doing an analysis of religion and society, with the story a means of getting it across. Steele's book is not such a set piece, but emphasizes the story more. So "Thou art God" seems a little more believable...
Published on March 9, 2009 by Baslim the Beggar

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Fourth in the Series
In this fourth book of the Coyote series, Coyote has become a thriving planet, made possible by the star bridge that allows other worlds to travel to it. Tourism is a big industry and imports give the planet all the products it once didn't have access to. Recurring characters have grown older, but are still present within the book and initially the reader settles in for...
Published on May 10, 2009 by Holly Helscher


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Thou art God" -- travelers in a very strange land, March 9, 2009
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Baslim the Beggar "Baslim" (Ventura County, California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Coyote Horizon (Hardcover)
If my title has you thinking that this is another "Stranger in a Strange Land", it is and it isn't. There's a lot less sex, and a lot more action. Heinlein was doing an analysis of religion and society, with the story a means of getting it across. Steele's book is not such a set piece, but emphasizes the story more. So "Thou art God" seems a little more believable here.

This book, unlike the two books immediately preceeding it in the Coyote Universe ("Spindrift" and "Galaxy Blues"), is set almost entirely on Coyote. If you have not read the first three books ("Coyote", "Coyote Rising" and "Coyote Frontier", you will be missing a lot of background, but you could probably make your way through. You might want to check out the coyoteseriesdotcom web site. (I have not really checked it out, but Steele does mention it).

However, there is a connection to "Galaxy Blues" because in that book we learn of the importance to the aliens that were encountered in "Spindrift" of a particular set of ethical/philosophical principles. Knowledge of this is introduced more fully in "Coyote Horizon", and how people react to it is a central theme. Coupled to it is the idea of the impact of the existence of aliens on some earth religions, particularly Judeo-Christian fundamentalism.

Like the other Coyote titled books, this one is episodic. We start with Hawk Thompson, some years after he killed his abusive father. He has spent time on a work farm and is now employed as a customs inspector, but has no hope. He finds a friend, Melissa, when he saves a prostitute from an abusive john. He also assists in the capture of a dangerous man (we don't know how dangerous until later) who vows revenge on Hawk.

But everything changes when Hawk is the customs agent chosen to meet an alien ambassador. Despite almost triggering diplomatic outrage, or because of it, Hawk receives a gift from the alien. It is the electronic "book" (the Sa'Tong-tas) which discusses the aliens' ethical/philosophical position. Hawk listens(the book may be a form of AI), and leaves with Melissa for some place where he might get answers. Since he is still on probation, he is now a fugitive. During this episode we see that there is significant immigration from earth to Coyote.

The next episode is about Sawyer Lee, who leads hunting expeditions of tourist-hunters from earth to bag a boid, Coyote's most feared land predator. He returns from such an expedition to find that Morgan Goldstein, probably the wealthiest human in the universe, wants Sawyer to help find a former employee of whom Goldstein was very fond. That expedition leads to a wilderness area where the Joseph Walking Star and his companions (thought to be addicted to a drug injected by "pseudo-wasps") have settled in. In the end, a "monastery" is to be built for these folks, who have found something very important.

The next episode gets closer to the heart of things. A "Dominionist" (something like a roman catholic, but not exactly so) cleric arrives in a response for help from a Reverend Rice of his church. The church has lost all but a very few of the former believers. A discussion follows, but the gist is that people don't accept a religion that declares that only Man counts with God. There is an alien delegation from a more advanced civilization, and the aliens reject the notion of a God as posited by humans. Those who were Dominionist have switched to other less species specific faiths or simply don't accept human religion. Reverend Rice has spoken with the Alien cultural envoy and comes away angry at "blasphemy" but also realizing that he no longer has faith either. This infuriates the visiting cleric.

The next episode involves the meeting of Hawk Thompson with the group in the wilderness. Transformations all around.

Next, Sawyer Lee embarks on a voyage around Coyote aboard a scientific vessel. Think Beagle or Challenger type expeditions. During this period, we learn of a change in government of one of the largest powers back on earth. The way is cleared for even more immigrants to arrive on Coyote.

Next we find Hawk, a pregnant Melissa, and Jospeh Walking Star traveling around, spreading the word of the Sa'Tong-tas. Hawk now goes by the title, chaaz-maha (teacher). And teach he does. It is clear that this is not a religion, but an ethical/philosophical stance.

Let me say a few words about it.

First, it is posited that every race has its own version of a God (or gods) creating those races as a divine act.

Once you start meeting other races you realize that you create God, not the other way around. So you are God, and so is every other being you meet.

From there it is essentially the Golden Rule, with some specific codicils that remind me of Asimov's three laws, extended to any thinking being.

It goes beyond that of course. One must learn how to think of others and how your actions toward them should be framed. This section of the book provides some good examples. I have simplified how all this occurs. People are skeptical of this new system, and always assume it is a new religion.

By now, Coyote is being flooded with refugees from earth. The chaaz-maha convinces the people of the village he is visiting to help with relief efforts and he also teaches. Since he has returned to the where he fled earlier, arrest is to be expected.

I won't say more about what follows. Some good is done, some evil is done.

A sequel, "Coyote Destiny", is promised by Steele at the beginning of the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Teacher Arises, October 18, 2009
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This review is from: Coyote Horizon (Hardcover)
Coyote Horizon (2009) is the first SF novel in the Coyote Chronicles. It is set in the same universe as -- and follows -- Coyote Frontier. In the Coyote Trilogy, the Coyote Federation declared their independence from the Western Hemisphere Union and applied for menbership in the United Nations.

In this novel, Carlos Mentero is a former president of the Coyote Federation and an occasional diplomatic attache. He is married to Wendy and the uncle of Hawk.

Wendy Gunther is also a former president of the Coyote Federation and is the wife of Carlos.

Hawk Thompson is a native of Coyote. He was convicted of second degree murder for killing his father. Now he has been on parole for six months out of a seven year sentence. He works as a customs inspector at the spaceport.

Melissa is a woman who lives across the hall from Hawk. He thinks that she is a prostitute.

Sawyer Lee is a guide for rich businessmen from Earth. He takes them out to kill boids, a vicious flightless bird predator.

Morgan Goldstein is the richest man on Coyote. He is the CEO of Janus Ltd., a trading house.

Joseph Walking Star Cassidy is an Amerindian. He has been Goldstein's equerry until recently.

Jasahajad Taf Sa-Fhadda is the hjadd Cultural Ambassador to the Coyote Federation.

In this story, Wendy is interviewed by Lynn Hu, an Earth journalist. Neither enjoyed the interview and Lynn got few quotes from Wendy. But she did get the impression that anything could happen.

One day Carlos shows up at Hawk's kiosk to ask a favor. The Coyote Council has changed the procedures for hjadd shuttles. Now they must land at the spaeport and the diplomats must clear customs. Still, they have diplomatic immunity, so their baggage cannot be searched.

Carlos asks Hawk to clear the new Cultural Ambassador out on the tarmac so as to not require him to go through the concourse. Hawk's boss is amenable to the modified procedures, so Hawk and Carlos meet Jasahajad as he descends the shuttle ramp. But the hjadd does not step off the ramp until requested by Carlos.

Hawk finds his usual procedures to be quite inadequate for a hjadd diplomat. When he asks whether Jasahajad has anything worth more than 100 Colonials to declare, the diplomat shows him a black box. Hawk realizes that the diplomat did not have to declare anything and tries to straighten out the blunder. Still, Jasahajad give the black box to Hawk and states that it is a book and he should listen to it.

When Hawk returns home, he takes the object out of the box and then talks to it. Soon he realizes that it is an artificial intelligence and it is teaching him a spiritual practice common to most galactic species. When Melissa comes home, they decide to run out on his parole and explore the book.

Then Sawyer gets a commission from Goldstein to find Joe Cassidy. He, Goldstein and Mike Kennedy follow Cassidy to a town in Midland. Mike stays behind when they rent the services of a boatman to cross the channel to Midsylvania. They find Cassidy and his people and discover that the group are telepathic due to undiluted venom of pseudowasps.

This tale sends Hawk to the Cassidy's sanctuary with the alien book. From this fortuious conjunction of telepathy and alien ethics comes a new belief system. It is not a religion, but religions find it hard to tell the difference.

This novel set the stage. The second book in the duology -- Coyote Destiny -- will conclude the cycle. Read and enjoy!

Recommended for Steele fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of interstellar discovery, alien relations, and wild frontiers.

-Arthur W. Jordin
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Fourth in the Series, May 10, 2009
This review is from: Coyote Horizon (Hardcover)
In this fourth book of the Coyote series, Coyote has become a thriving planet, made possible by the star bridge that allows other worlds to travel to it. Tourism is a big industry and imports give the planet all the products it once didn't have access to. Recurring characters have grown older, but are still present within the book and initially the reader settles in for another good read. Hawk Thompson is introduced early in the book, who is the nephew to former Coyote president Carlos. Both characters are prominent in the book. Hawk receives the gift of a book from a representative of the hjada, an alien race. The contents of the book conflict with previous portrayals of this race (in other Steele stories), but the reader can reasonably allow this. But it is the red flag that signals the book will fall apart. The story becomes an allegory, which is painfully obvious and far beneath Steele's creative writing abilities. Religious, or spiritual leaders lose their personalities in favor of standard stereotypic bland personalities and the story continues to go downhill. Action at the end is drawn out and needed better editing. It is at this point that Carlos commits a big mistake that is so out of character for him that a fan of the Coyote series will find it unbelievable. This mistake costs Coyote a great deal and sets up the ending which is the lead in to Steele's planned fifth book. The ending is a huge disappointment and almost lazy in nature and Steele continues the allegory which just makes the disappointment worse. The book may be better enjoyed if someone has not read the other three books, and it can be read by itself. But if you have read and enjoyed the other three, you will be disheartened by Steele's labors. The book had tremendous promise, but Steele doesn't deliver
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swift action marks a vivid story, August 20, 2009
This review is from: Coyote Horizon (Hardcover)
Deserving of ongoing mention is COYOTE HORIZON, a novel set in 2350 when fifty years have passed since the first starship from Earth reached Ursae Majoris. Several generations later a new world inhabits Coyote, with more ships arriving to seek shelter from Earth's environmental ruin. Coyote is not only mankind's last hope for survival - it's also a principal contact point with an alien race few understand. Swift action marks a vivid story.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars deep thought provoking, March 7, 2009
This review is from: Coyote Horizon (Hardcover)
In 2350 on Coyote, convicted of killing his abusive dad, former convict Hawk Thompson lives a bland lifestyle trying to stay out of trouble. The parolee earns a civil servant wage as a customs inspector at the spaceport, but has no goal to try anything else as the crime treatment therapy washed away his oomph for life; besides which he knows if he raises his voice an iota, the drug filled patch on his skin will produce a paralyzing affect. However, Hawk cannot stay out of an incident in which he helps hooker Melissa Sanchez. Soon afterward, the Customs Department upper management selects Hawk as their agent in a meeting with the enigmatic alien species the Hjadd who have a nearby embassy on the orb. He begins to understand their customs and soon with Melissa accompanying him, Hawk begins a quest.

Meanwhile Sawyer Lee leads several European on a hunt for deadly avian; at the same time a Navaho Shaman Joseph Walking Sky Cassidy, hired by Morgan Goldstein to watch over his horses, vanished in an unexplored area. Morgan informs Sawyer he is worried about the missing shaman he hired who is addicted to the drug sting. Sawyer leads a missing person's search unaware that Hawk and Joseph have met in the wilderness.

Though filled with plenty of action, this is a deep thought provoking entry in the Coyote saga as Allen Steele makes clear the inanity of prejudice limiting who can enter the tent as superior humans know their race is in God's image while the Lord obviously rejects the Hjadd. Interestingly, the founders have started to give up power to their descendants as five decades have past since the first colonization began; thus a new horizon begins with the passing of authority. That profound depth aside, this is a strong science fiction thriller that follows Hawk, changes direction to Sawyer and Joseph, and ultimately brings the trio together in a winner that the Coyote universe fans will immensely relish while waiting for the sequel.

Harriet Klausner
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4.0 out of 5 stars Solid B-rate Sci Fi. Recommended., November 16, 2013
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The Coyote series provides good B-rate Sci Fi entertainment. It's not so deep or thought provoking or poetic/lyric to merit five stars, but it is very solid. I recommend it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A little preachy, May 30, 2013
This review is from: Coyote Horizon (Kindle Edition)
I really liked the first three books, but this one took a left turn down I've-got-an-agenda-vil. I had to force myself to finish it, and am now wondering if I should even start the last book. The philosophical thoughts weren't the deepest and you just get slammed over the head with them over and over. If you like completing what you started, it's bearable with some good high lights here and there but if your time is short and you are on the fence already I'd avoid.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Coyote Horizon - Continuing the Coyote Trilogy., April 28, 2013
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This review is from: Coyote Horizon (Kindle Edition)
Allen Steele has shown us the universe. He has chronicaled our escape from Earth, established a colony and expanded our universe with the most creative sci-fi wiriting of our times! Coyote Horizon is a novel following up the Coyote Trilogy Taking up where Coyote Frontier left off. Whether you love Science Fiction , Adventure Novels or Historical Fiction, you must read every novel by Allen Steel you can get your hands on!
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful story, April 13, 2013
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This review is from: Coyote Horizon (Hardcover)
I love scfi!

His is a wonderful scfi story without all the weird monsters. The author has kept to a believable science. I found the only bad part of the book was that it ended. You certainly want the story to continue.

Get it, you will not be disappointed.

Oplutz
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed this series, February 5, 2013
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This review is from: Coyote Horizon (Kindle Edition)
Love the way Steele continues to develop the characters and the setting. I'm a big fan. I'll read these again.
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Coyote Horizon
Coyote Horizon by Allen Steele (Hardcover - March 3, 2009)
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