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The Dark Light Years Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- ASIN : B00J3EU3KQ
- Publisher : Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (April 1, 2014)
- Publication date : April 1, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 2398 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 160 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,355,021 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Aldiss focuses on the concept of intelligence and explores preconceptions both positive and negative. He dismisses, without much effort, finding common ground in either mathematics or science (which seems pretty essential for any species with space travel capability) and hones in exclusively on language. While the alien language is accessible to the reader, there is little in the way of any interest on the part of the aliens regarding their own fate once they can wallow in their own excrement. At the same time, all the human characters are wholly unremarkable or notable. There is no hero in this tale; only a grudging recognition that both sides are hopelessly self-centered to connect.
It sounds like the perfect setup for a social satire---and that's exactly what Aldiss provides, a kind of first-contact, post-colonial take on humanity's anthropocentric expectations of what an alien intelligence should look/act like. Like other such satires (Pohl's Jem comes to mind), it isn't as good at being a novel as it is as biting social commentary. Aldiss' writing is good, as always, but the pacing and particularly the characterization is weaker than normal. The characters are wooden and under-developed; while one "critical" character isn't introduced until the third to last chapter. Most exist as one-dimensional stand-ins for what Aldiss is mocking, the pompous scientists who are already convinced that these grotesque beasts aren't intelligent despite any sign to the contrary. A bit too much hyperbole for some, but I think it amps up the satire when there's only ever one sane man in the room.
Come for the social commentary, which is spot on; if you enjoy social satire SF ala Pohl, Sheckley, Tenn, and others, there's a good chance you'll like this one. Just lower your expectations a bit before diving in. While it's not a bad novel, the pacing and characters haves some serious issues, and it isn't quite able to deliver on its brilliant premise.