How does Hugo-winner Timothy Zahn turn an otherwise straightforward SF page-turner into something truly interesting? With one of the oldest shticks in the book: the good ol' black-hole-that-spits-out-quantum-particles-of-human-goodness trick.
Of course, that's not exactly an old sci-fi shtick, but the essence of it (and its effect) is: the ever-clever Zahn has taken a very cool idea--what if there were quantum particles (or whatever) that compelled people to act ethically--and then explored the impact that might have, in this case on a society and its internal and external interactions. The particles in question are called "angels," and the interstellar alliance known as the Empyrean has been blessed with Angelmass, the eponymous black hole that emits them. The greedy, Earth-based Pax empire sees these angels as a brainwashing alien invasion and threatens to invade the Empyrean itself to set things straight. Thrown into the fray to explicate the implications are a bumbling but earnest Pax scientist-spy, a pretty young grifter, a brother-sister pair of grizzled space vets, and an Empyrean High Senator who fears the complacency that angels have bred into his society.
Fast, fun, and thought-provoking, Angelmass combines Star Wars-style action (which Zahn knows well) with enough substance to satisfy a more serious reading. --Paul Hughes
Hugo winner Zahn (Conquerors' Legacy and numerous Star Wars novels) offers a satisfyingly complicated story of an alien force, Angelmass, that has for decades been spewing off particles called Angels, which have power over human behavior. Angelmass has become a significant part of the governing structure of one interplanetary system, the Empyrean, and a source of concern for its legendary enemy, the Pax Comitus. A series of marginalized characters contends with its social effects and other properties: Jereko Kosta, an academic researcher into atomic physics trained as a Pax spy; Chandris Lalasha, a highly skilled thief who is escaping a dangerous lover and hoping for a big score; High Senator of the Empyrean, Arkin Forsythe; and Forsythe's aide, Ronyon. Forsythe is ostracized because he doesn't like the Angels that all senators are supposed to use, Ronyon because he is mute and of low intelligence. Predictably, these individuals become the heroes of the story, willing to pursue unpopular scientific theories (Kosta opposes Pax and discovers important information about Angelmass), to sacrifice their goals for others (Lalasha learns to help her friends, personal and intergalactic) and to question official scientific and governmental opinions. Through in-depth characterization, as well as toothsome scientific and political mysteries, Zahn unfolds an intricate tale of adventure sure to please his many fans.
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Excellent development of the main characters. I cared about them enough to be concerned for them--I didn't want to see them get hurt, etc. In fact, I really liked them. Read morePublished on Feb. 29 2004
Angelmass was not really at all what I was expecting. It was very interesting and forced me to ask specific questions about the character's actions. Read morePublished on Feb. 6 2004 by Christina A Matta
I finished this book, but afterwards I have to wonder why. The characters were trite, the plot was juvenile, and the science in the science fiction was ludicrous. Read morePublished on Nov. 14 2003 by Jeffrey Owens
Well, what can I say. I finished it, and I can't say I hated it, but I wasn't rushing home to finish it either. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2003 by flodnag
...but not excellent. At first look, the actual concept is very original and promising. It is both of those, but there's something about how Zahn takes it that doesn't make it as... Read morePublished on Aug. 12 2002 by T
Before I ramble on, I'd like to say that I recommend Angelmass, so please don't take this review as being negative in any way.
"The door dialated. Read more
Author Timothy Zahn writes an exciting novel. ANGELMASS is enjoyable both because of the adventure plot and also because of the interesting scientific speculation about... Read more
The black hole dubbed "ANGELMASS" because of what it emits has dramatically changed the Empyrean colonists on planet Seraph. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2001 by Harriet Klausner