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Stardoc Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2000
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Garth Brooks: The Anthology Part 1 | Limited Edition
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A tiny snail walking across the floor of a reception area turns out to be a sentient alien coming in for his medical appointment. There's so much that's not logical about that! Cross-species romances seem to be common (apparently, humans are irresistible) and result in healthy human-alien hybrids. The heroine practices seat-of-her-pants surgery on aliens she's never even heard of before (and injects her own blood into an alien because he's dying of a disease that doesn't harm her?). Throughout the book, I kept thinking "This doesn't make sense."
Also, I never understood the motivation of any of the characters. Humans are apparently notorious bigots, except for every human we meet in the book. Aliens are just people dressed up in costume; they look but don't act alien. We read that the heroine falls in love, but we certainly don't see it. In fact, through most of the book we are TOLD, but we aren't SHOWN. It's hard to care about characters that you haven't gotten to know.
The book isn't horrible, but it's not a keeper. Some of the aliens are clever (actually, it could have been pretty funny, if it had been written as a comedy). But if you love science fiction with lots of aliens (as I do), you're much better off with David Brin or C.J. Cherryh.
The multitude of very alien aliens is ludicrous but entertaining in the same vein as Star Trek. At least S.L. Viehl one ups Star Trek by adding more than brow ridges. Even if they're 10 foot tall spiders or as small as snails, they all have human personalities. In addition, she somehow figures out how to operate on various species without any prior training whatsoever! Suuuure... We're supposing that all life is so similar that once you one species, you know them all. When she delves into describing the surgical procedures and medical gabbledygook, I just skip to the next paragraph. This is science fiction, so its okay to to suspend disbelief and take a leap of imagination, as the strength of the book lies in the engaging plot.
Cherijo is stubborn and relentlessly committed to her work (like most doctors), even after the first day of meeting the grim-faced Dr.Mayer and her antagonist the smelly half-human Dr. Rogan. There is a romantic element to the story, as Cherijo finds her self life-bonded with a blue-skinned studly warrior, but I would not consider this a romance. The most interesting character is the creepy telepathic linquist Duncan Reever, raised by aliens, is the most unhuman of all. This series looks like it'll be a blend of - Bujold's Miles Universe, ER, and Star Trek.
This lighthearted jaunt is no literary work, but its not meant to be! Its fast and fun with lots of action and you'll enjoy the quirky characters.