Aliens have kidnapped the Earth and its moon, turned the moon into a dim but serviceable artificial sun, and taken the Earth out into deep space. The human population has dwindled, and society has made major adaptations to manage reduced levels of sunlight and calories available. The only way the aliens interact with humans is with occasional teleportation-based kidnappings. There is nothing humans can do to resist, but there are always those who resist.

Until, of course, a main character is kidnapped, and we see the motivation behind the kidnappings. It is exactly this which gives humanity the chance to resist, and from then on the story is much more enjoyable than the preceding setup regarding the calorically-limited society.

I did not really like the style of this book as I started reading it. There is tension between the serious mood and between the less serious scenes, dialogue, and characters. However, as the plot develops and the story kicks into gear, I found myself enjoying the story more, and my appreciation of what it was doing grew. That jarring tone stayed, but became less important in the face of considering the story’s messages on meditation and warfare. The characters never particularly interested me, but the plot was captivating.

Part of my dislike may stem from how the style is semi-serious but the plot seems like an elaborate joke. However, partway through the book it doubles down on that joke and integrates it into the heart of the plot, rather than using it as a throwaway gag, which is something I chose to respect.

This book was written by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, and published in 1976 by Bantam Books.

Cover Art Review: Text so metal. Hair so curly.


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