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Forge of the Elders Mass Market Paperback – April 3, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Smith's latest outing combines portions of his previously published Contact and Commune and Converse and Conflict with a never-before-seen sequel. Set in the 21st century, this space opera centers on an interplanetary mission dispatched by the United World Soviet to investigate and mine 5023 Eris, an asteroid that has wandered into our solar system. No sooner do the Marxist-quoting American astronauts land than they are greeted by Ailbraugh Pritsch, one of the many aliens that live within the hollowed-out asteroid, and are dragged inside. Within the confines of the alien orb, the astronauts meet Mr. Thoggosh, the giant "nautiloid" in charge of the wandering rock (really a disguised starship). Thoggosh reveals that although he comes from another world, he is a capitalist, in search of the one venture that continues to elude his grasp: the Virtual Drive, which grants its users instantaneous faster-than-light travel. While periodic minor plot developments propel the action, the overall narrative proceeds at glacial speed on the questions of which Earth nation will wipe out the others and claim the asteroid for its own, and of whether Thoggosh & Co. will ever meet "the Predecessors," the creators of the Virtual Drive. Only Smith's less-demanding fans will likely take to this mishmash featuring tired communism jokes and frat-boy space sex. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
A very late arrival from Smith (Bretta Martyn, 1997, etc.). In an alternate world where Marxism triumphed, astronauts from the American Soviet Socialist Republic and their Russian colleagues explore space and encounter dinosaurs, giant capitalist cockroaches, robots, nautiloids, talking dogs, etc. Seems that the brilliant but mysteriously dim-witted Elders blazed a trail in probing probability worlds and multiple realities. Smith's ideas are amusing if unsubtlewith spaceships called McCain, Hatch, Dole, etc., he wears his ideology on his sleevethough fans should find diversion here. -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The asteroid, 5023 Eris, has turned out to be a ship - a very, very old space ship full of danger but little in the way of answers for the Elders. Then there is ANOTHER murder. Also it turns out that the ship isn't uncrewed. And, what do you know, the Banker, one of the most powerful men on Earth, may still be alive.
Eichra Oren and his friend Sam have their hands (and paws) full. Enemies are coming from every direction - from within their ranks, from within the asteroid and maybe from beyond the stars! Toss in the Galactic Confederacy and you have WHOLE other Universe thrown into the mix.
It makes you want to toss in your sword, scream Uncle and get drunk. Great ending, maybe, to the series.
I keep saying maybe because you never know with Mr. Smith.
Still, a fine read for those interested in liberty, statism, the role of government, and evolution as it applies to behavior. Others have said it better (like Ayn Rand) but not with as much fun and whimsy!
It was a long wait, but it was worth it. The third volume presented a number of interesting twists and ideas. The ending was satisfying but left plenty of room for sequels (To L. Neil, if you read this, hint.. hint.)
Sorry, Mr. Smith, I gotta say what I think. I believe that the third book was originally dropped not because it was "too radical", but because the books weren't selling. I intend to purchase this book, first because I do wish to know how it all turns out, but also for completeness. My original copy of The War Dove and The Galatin Divergence are lonely.
Every OTHER L. Neil Smith book that I've read I have enjoyed very much. Hopefully, the third triad of Forge will redeem the first two.
If you enjoy the works of Robert A. Heinlein (especially 'early' Heinlein) you will enjoy Forge of the Elders. Top-notch SF.
So, I consider the third book to be the only ("non-policy") thing reviewable. It's a bit weak. Yes, it's got the (LNS's) standard individualism rants and humor, but it just smells like someone went back the well one too many times. Makes me want to go reread Prob. Broach again to get the taste out of my mouth.
If atheism bothers you and anarcho-capitalism isn't your cup of tea, then this book won't do much for you. The science fiction aspect didn't really become interesting until the third section of the book, after already enduring seemingly endless political tirades. It was, in a word, tedious.
Though I'm glad that I can say I've now read a book by this author, I do not intend to follow up with any of his other work.