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Sliding Scales: A Pip & Flinx Adventure [Mass Market Paperback]

Alan Dean Foster

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Book Description

Sept. 27 2005 Adventures of Pip & Flinx
From New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster comes a fantastic new Pip and Flinx adventure starring a certain twenty-four-year-old redhead with emerald eyes and uncanny abilities and his devoted mini-dragon protector. Time and again, the daring pair have braved countless dangers to emerge victorious. But now Flinx attempts something that may be impossible for the heretofore undefeated hero. His mission: to take a vacation.

Never have the cares of the universe lain so heavily on Flinx’s shoulders, nor the forces arrayed against him seemed so invincible. Pursued by a newly revealed sect of doomsday fanatics, hunted by factions inside and outside the Commonwealth for transgressions real and imagined, expected to single-handedly avert a looming galactic crisis (or bear responsibility for the consequences), Flinx can be forgiven for feeling a slight touch of melancholy.

There’s only one solution for what ails Flinx, according to his ship’s AI. But taking time off is tricky business. With an increasing number of enemies chasing him with ever-greater enthusiasm, Flinx must find a getaway shrouded in obscurity. Jast, a planet smack in the middle of nowhere, is the perfect locale.

Yet even in a place where hardly anyone’s ever seen a human, Flinx and trouble can’t stay separated for long. Unfortunately, Flinx hasn’ t a clue that his vacation paradise is in reality a danger zone of the highest magnitude. And by the time he learns the truth, it may be too late.

Frequently Bought Together

Sliding Scales: A Pip & Flinx Adventure + Running from the Deity: A Pip & Flinx Adventure + Flinx's Folly
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (Sept. 27 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345461584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345461582
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 10.5 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 45 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #280,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Flinx and Pip, that daring duo of man and "minidrag" (a flying snake), take a break—or try to—from fighting the forces of evil in Foster's surprisingly dark ninth entry (after 2003's Flinx's Folly) in an SF series usually considered light on substance but heavy on fun. Philip "Flinx" Lynx, the young Commonwealth hero, is exhausted. He may hold the key to saving the universe, but he doesn't care. He broods over Clarity Held, the injured girlfriend he left behind in Flinx's Folly. Teacher, his ever-helpful ship-mind, suggests a vacation. Unfortunately, Flinx travels to Jast, a planet caught in a rising conflict between two sentient species, the mushroom-like Vssey and the reptilian AAnns. An ambitious AAnn secondary administrator, Takuuna, wants Jast allied with the Empire at any cost, including subterfuge, terrorism and murder. His mistrust of "softskinned" humans leads to an attempt on Flinx's life, but Chraluuc, an AAnn artisan, finds Flinx and nurses him back to health as the outcast artists of Tier courageously welcome him into their family. Foster exhibits a keen eye for depicting alien art forms and injects a cohesion lacking in some earlier installments, giving the series a much-needed energy boost.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–On the run, the young human Flinx and his companion, Pip, an Alaspasian flying snake, arrive on the planet Jast for a "vacation," but find it under the influence of the AAn Empire, enemy of the Humanx Commonwealth. Inspector Taruuna, assigned to Flinx as guide (and watchdog), attacks him and leaves the "spy" for dead. Rescued and given shelter by the Tier, an AAn artists' colony, Flinx recovers but has lost his memory. The situation is further complicated by the beginning of local resistance to AAn control. Foster does a wonderful job of creating an alien world: the varied life-forms on Jast use air-filled bladders for locomotion. The sentient Vssey, tubular and tentacled, make decisions by consensus reached after lengthy discussion, infuriating the reptilian AAn; they believe in hierarchy and survival of the fittest. Flinx and the Tier find common ground despite major cultural differences; he and Craluuc, a female artist, form a particularly strong bond. When Taruuna learns that Flinx is alive, the Tier must decide whether to defy the order to turn him in. Familiarity with previous Pip and Flinx books is assumed. Flinx's final defense against Taruuna may seem a bit out-of-the-blue, but it is in line with the character's evolving abilities throughout the series. An entertaining, imaginative adventure with a likable protagonist.–Sandy Freund, Richard Byrd Library, Fairfax County, VA --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A real letdown to the series Nov. 15 2004
By G. Tenison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wow - I have loved this series but this book stunk. I really had to force myself to read through it. What a letdown to a really great series. Absolutely NOTHING moved forward in this story. No movement in Flinx's mental powers, no movement in his relationship with Clarity (in fact she wasnt even in the book), no movement towards finding or using the weapon platform. You can skip this book and MISS NOTHING in this series. What a piece of CR*P.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flinx Takes A Book Off June 21 2005
By Marc Ruby™ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
To be honest, I had some doubts about this new Pip & Flinx series after Flinx's Folly. Somehow, Foster's effort to write a combination love story and suspense tale gets completely lost amidst the threats of the Order of Null and the impending doom that is reaching across space. The end result was a nervous tale that never seemed to settle with Flinx falling steadily out of character. More for old time's sake than anything else I decided to try the next in this particular adventure, Sliding Scales.

This, however, is a completely different animal. When Teacher, is AI driven ship suggests that he might need a vacation, Flinx actually heeds its advice and instructs it to find an interesting world where he will be free of the influences of everyone who is trying to make him ultimately responsible for the survival of the universe. The computer selects Jast, a lonely planet in the middle of a region of space where both Humanx and Aan interests intersect. The the biosphere is entirely composed of species, intelligent and otherwise, who have either one or no feet. This slows things down considerably and the Vssey are intelligent, and technically adept, but they decide everything by committee, and take as much time as it takes. Which drives the Aan presence on the planet insane.

Flinx lands, and is promptly the subject of a murder attempt by an Aan who is hungry for status. Flinx survives with no memory, and nearly dies on the desert when he is rescued by other Aan, from the Tier of Ssaiinn, an artists colony which is entirely unlike everything we know of the Aan. In the meantime, a Vssey rebellion is fomenting (ever so slowly) and suddenly the Aan back at the capital find themselves the object of terrorist attacks. Flinx has jumped into the midst of trouble again, but this adventure has many unusual twists.

What really makes the story is all of the details of the Aan. They have been the stereotypical villains for so long that actually discovering they have personalities is a surprise. While some are painted as the ultra-aggressive, status-conscious types we've seen before, even the more militant Aan have some shred of 'humanity.' And the artists of the Tier of Ssaiinn are a delightful change as we discover that Aan can actually be both admirable and likeable.

I'm not sure if this book is intended to advance the story arc about the evil from beyond the Great Emptiness or give the reader's a well deserved break before the story picks up again, but Sliding Scales works much better than its predecessor. It's hardly the great American science fiction novel, but it is decent entertainment. Whether you buy the hardback or decide to wait for the paperback, I think you'll find this an acceptible effort.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wow, major letdown March 10 2005
By Karen K. Franklin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I absolutely love Alan Dean Fosters work and I have followed the Flink/Pip story line with delight. Which makes this weak, thin story even more of a let down than if I had picked it up as a unknown author. I expected the usual "on the edge of your seat" writing and emotional angst that I enjoyed in the other stories and this one was nothing but one big ramble about balloon creatures and long names. The characters were thin and one dimensional, I learned more than I ever needed or wanted to know about AAnn mating strategies. The only reason this rates a space on my bookshelf is that I hate to be one book short of a complete collection of Mr. Fosters work. You can safely skip this book and not miss a thing.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A real let down Nov. 26 2004
By J. Revay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As soon as I saw a new Pip & Flinx book, I immediately rushed to buy it, to find out what would happen to Clarity, what Flinx would do about the pending disaster from afar, and to see what sort of general mayhem Flinx could get into. Sadly, only the last of my three desires was met. As one reviewer pointed out, this book did absolutely nothing with regard to the first two items in my quest. As a sci-fi novel, it was entertaining with its unusual Jast life forms and an interesting Aann character, but clearly I don't think this was up to Foster's normally high quality work. It seems as though he had writer's block with regard to dealing with the BIG issues in Flinx's world, so he simply threw something together so he could issue a Pip & Flinx novel.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read Dec 25 2005
By Nina M. Osier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Flinx, the mysterious (even to himself) young hero of Alan Dean Foster's first novel, has done a lot of maturing by the time this ninth installment in the series begins. He's acquired his own spaceship, operating by an AI (artifical intelligence unit) with which he trades verbal barbs. He's still accompanied by Pip, the Alaspinian mini-drag (miniature dragon, or - if you prefer - flying snake) who's been his companion since childhood. His empathic psychic abilities are still growing, and he still doesn't understand them. He's in a foul mood at present, because his most recent adventure has ended with the love of his life severely injured. Flinx blames himself, and having to leave Clarity behind - without even stopping to be sure she'll survive - galls him. Yet it's the only hope he has of keeping her safe. So his AI tells Flinx that he needs a vacation. Some time to spend deliberately doing nothing, in a place where he can't possibly be recognized. The AI picks out a remote planet called Jast.

Jast is home to a sentient species with a highly developed civilization. It's also a target for the Commonwealth's arch-nemesis, the AAnn Empire. When one of the reptilian aliens is assigned as Flinx's "guide" (or minder, actually), the young human doesn't object because he's met the AAnn before. He understands and speaks their language, and thinks he understands their culture quite well, too. But on that point he's mistaken, as he discovers when his "guide" nearly kills him and actually does leave him for dead in a rugged, isolated part of the Jastian landscape. Or he would discover that - if he could only remember how he got there.

Initially I groaned a bit when I read the chapter that introduced Flinx's amnesia. "What a tired old plot device!" I thought. But I kept reading, and before too many more pages were turned I'd decided that the tired old plot device was working just fine.

There's not much movement in this book toward resolution of the mysteries central to Flinx's on-going story. It's basically a standalone "planet of the week" adventure, with character development (for Flinx, and for the AAnn as a species) its only real contribution to the saga as a whole. But, with that understood and accepted, I found it an enjoyable tale. Not the best in the series (I've read them all), but definitely worth the read.

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