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The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes Kindle Edition
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The voice is heartbreakingly Heinleinian, and it ranges from whimsy to the chest-out strutting of Lazarus Long revisiting his own past. By the by, Lazarus is mentioned and involved with our heroes’ lives, though under an alias.
Interpersonal relations, sexual tensions, and pleasurable titillations abound. Familial hierarchies, or the societal kowtowing to them, are reminiscent of fifties morality, but not to the point of being stifling. If anything, they are employed masterfully to maintain loving conflict.
I will reveal no more; all Heinlein fans deserve to experience this wondrous revisiting for themselves.
-- David Lloyd Sutton, Manhattan Book Review --This text refers to the paperback edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
“At once, Captain Zebadiah Carter!” With no spoken command, the three thoats executed ‘Troopers left about!’ and headed at ground-shaking speed for the shoulder of the hill where they had appeared. Deety and Jake closed in quickly. Deety hugged me, banging me on the back of my noggin with the barrel of her shotgun in doing so.
“Oh, my captain, I’m so proud of you!”
I kissed her. “Hilda is the hero, not me.”
“I’m proud of Hilda, too. Aunt Hilda, are you all right, honey?”
Hilda stopped nuzzling her man long enough to answer. “That big lunk bruised my ribs. But he couldn’t help it. He’s rather sweet, actually. Handsome, too.”
“Deety baby, you don’t expect a Great Dane to be pretty by the same rules as a butterfly.”
Deety looked thoughtful. “That’s logical. I must look at him again, with unprejudiced eye.”
“Postpone the debate, girls, and listen. Jake, can you manage a sword salute?”
“Okay, here’s the drill. We line up, Jake on the right, Hilda next, Deety next, me beside Deety―Deety, you can ‘Present arms’ with a gun?”
“I’ve seen it. I can fake it.”
“Good. Hilda, all you have to do is a Girl Scout salute. I give ‘Draw―Swords!’ You gals do nothing; Jake and I draw and come to order arms in three counts. Then I give ‘Present―Arms!’ Jake and I do it, two counts, one for each word―but Deety, don’t move until I say ‘Arms!’ ”
“I’ll be out of step,” Deety objected.
“They won’t be critical. When I ‘Return … swords!’ you come back to order arms―and I’ll say, “Fall out” and Doctor Burroughs―you’re Doctor Burroughs in public from now on and you two are always ‘princess’ and I’m always ‘captain.’ Protocol. Any questions? I hear them coming.”
We lined up. The thundering herd rounded the shoulder and came straight at us, lances at charge, only this time it was the starboard wing man who was about to skewer me. They didn’t slow and I was ready to beat the Barsoomian record for backward broad jump―but couldn’t because both women remained rock steady.
When it seemed impossible that they could stop, the thoats slammed on brakes with all twenty-four legs, and stopped dead as three lances swung up vertically into perfect salutes. My boy almost brushed the tip of my nose with his, but upright his lance was four meters away.
“Draw!―Swords!” (Grab―Draw―Down! Hup! two! three!)―and Sharpie tossed in her own variations. No Girl Scout salute for her―she followed our motions, right on the beat, with her hunting knife.
“ ‘Present’!”―hilts to three chins―“Harmp!” Blades flashed down while Deety chucked her gun into the air, caught it with both hands. I’ve seen it done more by the book, but never with more snap.
The three giants let out wild yells, which I chose to interpret as cheers. I waited a long beat, then dismissed my “troops.”
But the big boys weren’t through. Tawm Takus glanced right and left, and suddenly bunting bloomed from those upright lances, joined together into one big banner (magnets? magic?), spelling:
WELCOME TO BARSOOM!
Greater Helium Chamber of Commerce
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B082838YYY
- Publisher : CAEZIK SF & Fantasy (March 24, 2020)
- File size : 2210 KB
- Publication date : March 24, 2020
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 545 pages
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #14,509 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Bill Hodges TANSTAAFL.
Which was the problem. You can see where Heinlein finished, read what he had written...and realized that he had the characters created by other authors behaving in ways that did not ring true to the original works. And a finale that was...tepid. He COULD have published it, but instead did the professional thing - scrap most of it and do a massive rewrite. Use his own characters...and put a lot more emphasis on the internal fighting between his protagonists. (Who frankly needed a generous dose of the Singapore Slugger...and I think Heinlein wrote them that way deliberately)
It's an interesting book. Entertaining...IF you aren't a fan of the other classic works being used. But if you are - and I confess to being a big fan of the Lensman Series - you'll understand why Heinlein scrapped this version.
The Number of the Beast was a love song to all the characters Heinlein's fans loved. Some do not realize that he had come close to death not long before. Number of the Beast brought back not only Lazarus Long, but Valentine Michael Smith and other characters from Stranger in a Strange Land, and many other stories, plus real authors Heinlein knew in the story.
It was a way to wrap up dangling plot threads, but it was more a last chance to see old friends.
Fortunately, Heinlein lived to write more novels, but it was not at all clear that would happen.
Pursuit of the Pankera does something else.
While it starts from the same premise, and with very similar text for the first third of the book, Pankera is about reliving the wonder of the early fantasies fans in those days still remembered: the Galactic Lensman, Oz, Wonderland, Mars in the form of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom - not Heinlein's own characters. The tone is less that of the voices of widely diverging points of view of the main characters and more like the planning drama of a book like Friday. While each of the characters has a voice, they are telling the same story rather than digressing to make a relational or social point, as happened frequently in Beast.
Pankera is about survival in a dangerous multiverse, but also about the wonder of the universe. All of the characters are larger than life in a way only the Grand Master could do.
Top reviews from other countries
Heck, if you have read the alternate universe version of this story you may well feel the urge to read it again after getting to the end of this one.
Due to the error in judgment of the publisher of the time only one of the original twin books was published. For some reason lost to the mists of time this half of the story remained hidden until 30 years had passed. In the cosmic scheme of things that delay is strangely appropriate. But it left the unsupported twin diminished at the time. With the release of this book the adventure is now whole.
I do have a hunch that you may need to be a Trekkie or a Whovian to not feel lost in time or space.
I haven’t enjoyed a new book so much in 30 years! Considering the situation of the Covid-19 world and the stress that we all feel this book that’s 30 years late arrived at the right time. I think that many fans of Heinlein will feel the same way as I do.
Of course, this is my own personal opinion, that has caused me to think that he was slowly slipping away with problems brought on by ageing.
This particular book was for me the utter downfall and low point for a writer that I still consider one of the greatest SF authors.
How I yearn for his earlier works with which I grew up.
"Starship Troopers" was many universes above this last novel! Even "Have Spacesuit Will Travel" (a story for adolescents!) was more serious.
I am really sorry I wasted my time on this "pseudo-fantasy-sci-fi" monotony, filled with useless drivel, an over-abundance of ridiculous dialog and empty conversations among the main characters. All wrapped up in a storyline that just was not the Heinlein that I enjoyed and loved once-upon-a-time.
Had he done so, it would make FARNHAM'S FREEHOLD look good.