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3.4 out of 5 stars
Starplex
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Upon reaching the stars, mankind discovered wormholes. Artificially generated, these tunnels allowed transport from one part of space to areas light-years away. Their creators are unknown.
In Sawyer's "Starplex," a human and alien crew set out to explore the wormholes, finds that something is coming through the wormhole back to meet them. The age of discovery may be over, and it may be war.
As always, Sawyer's characters are the strength of this work. Kieth Lansing comes alive on the page, and internal struggles against bigotry and other human failings are sharp enough to draw blood. The alien races are very well developed, especially the "Ibs," (Integrated beings, of which individuals are made up of various living organisms that bond symbiotically).
What I could have done without, however, was the Dolphins. Over-cute and just a little out of place in this novel, we find that Dolphins have always been intelligent, and it just took us a while to clue in. It's somewhat clunky.
The plot itself is well thought out and puts the notion of an Alien "Culture Clash" to new heights. The scientific mysteries of the story also set a high simmer, and the outcomes of the various interwoven plots (another strength of Sawyer) are all very satisfying.
Though the inclusion of the dolphins made me wince, I'd still reccommend this one with no real regrets. It's enjoyable, the characters are solid, and the plot is formidable. Canada's king of SF does it again.
'Nathan
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on November 30, 1997
Unlike the previous reviewer I found Starplex a highly enjoyable read. The science is top notch and there certainly is lots of "crunchy bits" in this regard. However at the same time the scientific revelations never seem to intrude on the story. Starplex also earns points for a nice resolution to the plot. The main characters in Starplex don't overwhelm and outsmart all of their problems. Some of the problems are negotiated/partialy unresolved at the end of the novel. I found this a paticularly satisfying and intelligent resolution. If you like solid interstellar hard sf and intelligent resolutions to your plots (as opposed to superhuman protagonists smashing all opposition like a house of cards in the second to last chapter) then Starplex is for you.
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