Fire Time Mass Market Paperback – October 12, 1975
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Anderson juxtaposes a number of novel alien attributes with humans. Specifically, the aliens are longed lived, typically multiple centuries, which creates distinct social and philosophical perspectives. In addition, Anderson suggests that the planet was previously terraformed and settled by a prior race presumed to have migrated to escape an even more devastating "fire time" on another nearby world, but eventually did not survive, while the current indigenous population evolved afterwards. Lastly, in the aftermath of Vietnam, Anderson offers the possibility of a just war that nevertheless still appears arbitrary in terms of choices.
The plot was good, too- lots of different agendas on all sides, making a resolution complicated- though I do think it was resolved rather too readily.
I liked that one of the key humans was a woman... but the novel was a product of its era, and the more we got into it, the more she was a foil for the menfolks, rather like a Heinlein chick. Disappointing...
Recommended, if you like well-thought-out alien cultures- though "Woman of the Iron People" is more subtle.
Poul Anderson has his ups and downs, this is definitely to me an "up". Very engaging, you do get clues, and the science is interesting, This review is based on the Hardbound Edition. Not a long book, it is just right.
As a side issue, this was not a library book. I get pizzed often at sellers who list books as "good" or "very good" and turn out to be marked up labeled library books not even mentioned in the descriptions. I do return them and rate the seller accordingly unless the book is hard to get. Thats me I guess, and has nothing to do with this review. I am a avid reader, and most stuff I get is used since they are rarely carryed new online.. Buyer beware,
As I said, the book and story itself is excellent and worth purchasing.