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Ascension Factor Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1989
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From Publishers Weekly
This final collaboration between the late Herbert (Dune) and Ransom is a worthy sequel to their novel The Lazarus Effect. On the water planet Pandora, the tyrannical Director, a clone named Raja Flattery, is impoverishing the inhabitants to the point of starvation as he builds a new Voidship to orbit the spheres. Popular newscaster Ben Ozette has gone underground to broadcast the true facts about the Voidship project, taking with him Flattery's captive, Crista Galli, a woman raised by the planet's sentient kelp and now considered a god by the populace. Though Crista grew up in complete isolation, the kelp gave her a prodigious memory and other mental powers that she uses to aid the resistance. The thematic richness one associates with Herbert is again present, here centering on mind/body dislocations, from the torture victims driven mad to the bodyless brains in cyborgs, and Crista herself.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book takes place 25 years after the end of the Lazarus Effect. In that time a lot has changed on Pandora. With the exception of Queets Twisp who is transformed from rugged fisherman to zen-like monk, gone are the main characters from the previous novel: Kareen Ale; Kerro (Shadow) Panille, who was head of Current Control; Scudi Wang; Brett Norton. It's bad enough that all of the characters are gone, worse that the reader doesn't learn their fates until more than half-way through the book.
At the end of the Lazarus Effect, the hyp tanks are brought down from orbit. But despite the fact the tanks offered tremendous opportunities for Pandora, only 3 humans survived: Raja Flattery who overthrows the Islander-Merman governments and takes over as dictator; Mack who is responsible for monitoring current control from orbit; and Alyssa Marsh who Flattery turns OMC (Organic Mental Core).
Flattery is in charge. He keeps an authoritarian grip on the population, by restricting food supplies. Flattery seeks to leave Pandora by taking a spaceship to another star. Opposing Flattery is a group known as the Shadows. The Shadows include tv reporter Ben Ozette and Holomaster (camera man) Rico LaPush. They kidnap from Flattery, Crista Galli who was raised by the Kelp. Ozette and LaPush are pursued by bounty hunter Spider Nevi.
Meanwhile, reporter Beatriz Tatoosh, former girlfriend to Ozette, travels to the orbital station to run a story on the OMC that is in the process of being installed for Flattery. But the Tatoosh tv crew is attacked by Yuri Brood who is working for Flattery. At the orbital station, Brood takes over, holding Tatoosh hostage.
Back on Pandora the Shadows and Zavatans plot to overthrow Flattery. In addition, to Ozzette and LaPush, the Shadows include Kaleb Norton-Wang, the son of Brett Norton and Scudi Wang. Ransom wastes a number of pages covering characters who are eliminated by Flattery and add nothing to the plot.
Overall, the pace events is beyond slow. It's painful. With the main characters from the previous books gone replaced by boring new characters. Nevi, chases Ozzete, Tatoosh goes to orbit, is pursued by Yuri, everyone hates Flattery. On and on the book drags. Finally the end comes suddenly almost from nowhere. It's like the book just stopped.