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Flinx Transcendent: A Pip & Flinx Adventure Hardcover – May 19, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Flinx and his feisty minidrag, Pip, reunite with old friends for one final slam-bang universe rescue in the 14th title of one of science fiction's longest running series. After the devastating events of 2008's Quofum, Flinx is at his most self-destructive. His malaise is compounded by his knowledge of the Great Evil that threatens to destroy all intelligent life, a monster only he can defeat. On his way to that fateful confrontation, dodging dark agents of the Order of Null, Flinx negotiates a temporary peace between the human Commonwealth and the AAnn, reconciles with his one true love, Clarity Held, and reunites with his old mentors Truzenzuzex and the sociologist-soldier Tse-Mallory. Once the story picks up steam, the pace never slows. Flinx fans will delight in seeing familiar faces come together for one last grand adventure. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In the conclusion of Foster’s long-running series, Flinx finally gets to unleash his mental powers to save the universe. With Pip faithfully at his side, Flinx has challenged himself to visit the AAnn home world, an endeavor that may be suicidal but certainly will be interesting. Unfortunately, a minor slip-up arouses official suspicion; he has to send Teacher (his ship) away and fend for himself. Hiding on AAnn, he is discovered only by a remarkably open-minded AAnn youth. The subsequent adventures are steeped in the over-the-top danger and triumph that series followers expect. When Flinx finally leaves AAnn, he is reassured that sentient life is worth saving and feels ready to find the relics of long-dead civilizations with which he might neutralize the great evil bent on destroying everything in its path. Before the inevitable showdown, he picks up some old friends and his beloved Charity Held. All loose Flinxian ends are tied up before the end of the entertaining trip Foster has led readers on since 1972 (see The Tar-Aiym Krang to start all over again). --Regina Schroeder
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All throughout the series, the Aann have been the sole race to communicate using a combination of spoken word and gestures, heavily alluding to how unusual it is for Flinx, a Humanx, to utilize the same means of gestures in a manner that even Aann find to be impressive. Suddenly a past character, a Thranx, appears, and is using Aann gestures with no explanation. While reading this book, I suspect that Alan Dean Foster forgot that Thranx don't use gestures the way that Aann do, or else forgot that Syl was a Thranx. When I bought this book, I had recently re-read the past books in order to be sure I remembered everything. This is the only book in the series that I can find that mentions the elaborate gestures as a means of communication for any race beyond the Aann.
The end of the book clinched it for me; Flinx comes into contact with the cetaceans, a whale race mentioned in a book outside of the Pip and Flinx series and that I have not yet read. Google searches indicate that the book involving the Cetaceans is a Humanx Commonwealth book, but was written outside of the plot line of Flinx's story. Their sudden appearance at the end of the story comes flying out of nowhere and is treated as though it were cannon for Flinx to be completely aware of and in contact with them.
This book started out as entertaining and riveting as the past stories, then turned into a hurried and sloppily executed rush job in order to put the whole thing to rest.
It's the longest Pip & Flinx installment yet, and it does seem as if Foster had just opted to paste three story arcs together. The first segment informs us that a jaded Flinx has breached the AAnn's homeworld and has been skulking around in a lizard suit, passing himself off as AAnn (just because he can). But Flinx isn't as clever or as circumspect as he thought he was. The AAnn soon enough suspect something shady, and Flinx has to go on the run. Finding himself trapped in the AAnn's capital, his salvation may rest on an unpredictable young Aann. What happens next demonstrates yet again that, despite his best intentions, Flinx just cannot do things on a small scale. His actions will have a profound effect on Humanx-AAnn relations. This story arc, which just may be my favorite of the three, is highlighted by the interactions between Flinx and the young AAnn, Kiijeem.
The middle arc finds Flinx reunited with his sweetheart Clarity Held and with his old scholarly mentors Truzenzuzex and Bran Tse-Mallory. There's time enough also for another assault from the Order of Null, that murderous cult that worships oblivion, worships the impending cosmic "Great Cleansing." And then, in one of them deus ex machina moments, a character I was pretty fond of, who debuted way back in ORPHAN STAR, resurfaces. She pulls Flinx's asssterisk out of the fire.
The third and final arc has Flinx once and for all addressing the Great Evil, that malignant entity hurtling from the Great Emptiness and speeding ever nearer to our galaxy, consuming all matter in its path... and accelerating. Down the years, Flinx and his companions have criss-crossed the breadth of the Humanx Commonwealth, desperately seeking a solution. They've just about run out of options. More than ever, Flinx, with his wild, erratic Talents, is the key. He still doesn't know what this means.
Longtime readers will enjoy this. New readers may get lost a bit. Alan Dean Foster ties loose threads that have been dangling from previous novels. This being the final book, it's apropos that familiar faces we met in those previous novels make a curtain call. My most favorite aliens introduced in the Pip & Flinx series have always been the massive, vastly inventive, very inquisitive Ulru-Ujurrians. So I'm very glad they showed up. What I didn't like was the manner in which they were summoned by Flinx. I thought he pulled a chump move on that one, and you can see why Clarity was so ticked off. Foster throws us another bone by providing an epilogue to another of his Humans Commonwealth novels, QUOFUM. Of course, if you haven't read QUOFUM, that bit of closure won't signify diddly.
I enjoyed reading this book; it had me reminiscing a lot about those fantastic early novels in the series. I am definitely glad this cosmic threat was resolved at last. It's been a long time coming. I still hope to see more of Flinx and Pip and friends. Just because the writer's done writing novels about Flinx doesn't preclude his featuring him in short stories. Philip Lynx, he isn't even thirty yet. Surely he can top that "God's Ruler" thing he did.
One criticism; not of the book, but about the cover illustrations of this and others in the series. No flying creature, whether avian or reptilian, can be very fast and agile without being fairly small. Those flying dragons are described as "buzzing like a herculean bumble-bee", which makes sense, so their bodies, if snake-like, would have to be small, with a rigid rib cage to support powerful fast-moving wings.
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What happens with the tunneling?
Thanks for all your wonderful books.