From Publishers Weekly
Setting the stage for the final book in the popular Pip and Flinx series, this intriguing first contact mystery ends on a cliffhanger without resolving a thing. In an otherwise unremarkable star system outside Commonwealth space, the planet Quofum seems to appear and disappear at will. A crew of xenologists sent to study the life forms that enjoy Quofum's earthlike atmosphere and alcohol-laced water oceans are shocked to discover four primitive intelligent species so unlike one another that they couldn't possibly have evolved on the same world, as well as a vast underground complex full of mysterious technology. While this novel may fill in background details for Flinx Transcendent
, expected next year, it's hard to see why one needs an entire book of what is, essentially, backstory. (Oct.)
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The lead-in to the end of the Pip and Flinx saga tracks a scientific expedition to Quofum, which doesn’t always exist. It moves, and its astonishing riot of life-forms—everything from predatory plants to many intelligent species—with it. While the science crew studies the natives, the maintenance tech, who’s actually a debt collector, leaves the planet, marooning everybody else. They keep collecting data, anyway, and discover why the planet sporadically disappears and the promise of a terrible threat to come. Foster clearly enjoys imagining Quofum’s profuse biota, so much that the book is tantamount to a stand-alone, though certainly significant in the greater epic. --Regina Schroeder