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The Man Who Used the Universe [Paperback]

Alan Dean Foster
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but a fun read Aug. 22 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another novel from the Alan Dean Foster machine. He can spin a yarn. Not his best, but a fun read nonetheless
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun, fun read. Jan. 24 1997
By A Customer - Published on
A sci-fi story set in a non-Commonwealth(Flinx) universe,
it nonetheless has a rich and engrossing setting. (In fact,
it's a shame there weren't additional books set here) The main character is an enigmatic, brilliant, and incredibly driven man that we never really get to know. Instead, we perceive him through his interactions with a varied cast of interesting "side" characters. We track our mysterious and chillingly efficient protagonist as he works his way to the top, and along the way we get to look inside
the minds of the facinating supporting characters that his actions affect. Overall an engrossing, well-told story. One of Alan Dean Foster's best efforts.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable fluff Aug. 22 2001
By Justus Pendleton - Published on
If you approach this book as mindless entertainment you probably won't be terribly disappointed. Of course, neither will you be wholly satisfied. The book has an interesting premise but one that is perhaps impossible to deliver on fully.
The main character, Kees van Loo-Macklin is the most brilliant, ruthless human the known galaxy has ever dealt with. It is, of course, very difficult for an author to realistically portray characters who are smarter than themselves. Foster tries to get around this by rarely having Loo-Macklin in the narrative. Instead, most of the story is told from the viewpoint of the one alien who devotes his entire life to trying to understand Loo-Macklin. This has the unfortunate effect of making the alien Nuel seem more human than Loo-Macklin. So not only does the author seem unable to realistically portray Loo-Macklin, he further disappoints by giving us an alien that doesn't feel very alien.
The removal of Loo-Macklin from the main narrative, while understandable both because of the difficulties of accurately portraying such a supposedly brilliant and ruthless person and in an attempt to keep him as mysterious to the reader as he is supposed to be to the rest of the universe, ends up being the biggest problem with the book. The reader is simply left with very little reason to accept both Loo-Macklin's brilliance and motivation other than the author tells us so. The final denouement when the alien gets Loo-Macklin to answer the question, "Why?" ends up feeling, although not quite as empty and trite as Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man, not much better, either. Without having critical insight into Loo-Macklin a great many of the choices he makes don't make a whole lot of sense, even in retrospect.
One final complaint: the plotting was a little TOO pat. Loo-Macklin has schemes within schemes within schemes and they all seem to work out perfectly. It would have been nice to once, just once, have seen his first plan fail and have backup plans come into play. It would have been so much more impressive if Loo-Macklin's final scheme were realized even in the face of errors along the way.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vacuum of a Book March 5 1999
By Jeff( - Published on
I started reading SciFi 7 years ago because a friend of mine lent me this book. The main character in this book is often unpredictable and has a cool, sly personality that draws you to him as often as the characters in the book are drawn to this most likeable(or is it unlikeable?) deviant. Though I appreciated most of the settings in this book, it's the way in which Foster managed to create such an interesting plot through such a unique, deceptive character. He's as calm, collective and mean as "Dirty Harry" but oh so much smarter. I've read several Foster books since then, but this ultimately remains my favorite.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps Me Coming Back June 12 2000
By "qed7" - Published on
This book is one of my guilty pleasures. I have read it more times than I can count and am about to purchase my third copy, having worn out two previous copies. The main character is a man driven unlike any other. He seems at times to be in search of something (a theme I find in many of Foster's books), but in the process of his quest he reshapes the entire known universe. As intriging a read the twentieth time as it was the first.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-readable to the point of destruction Nov. 15 2001
By Shalom Craimer - Published on
I've liked this book since I first read it, 10 year ago, and I still find myself picking it up and re-reading it again and again. The flow of the plot is simply to absorbing to put it down, and the complex plans made by the main character amaze me afresh every time. I've read this book so often, and lent it to so many people, that my first copy fell apart. So I got another one ;-)
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