Cold Allies Hardcover – Apr 17 1993
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From Library Journal
As war between the Arab world and the various allied countries of Western Europe threatens to engulf an already ecologically strained world, an American soldier in Portugal encounters a cold blue light--and suddenly the "world war" takes on an entirely new dimension. Anthony's first novel blends quirky humor with graphically visual descriptions of 21st-century war to produce an elegant variation on the "aliens have landed" theme. For large sf collections.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Patricia Anthony (born 3 January 1947) is an American science fiction and Slipstream author. Anthony published her first science fiction novel in 1992 with Cold Allies, about the arrival of extraterrestrials in the midst of a 21st Century Third World War. This was followed by Brother Termite, Conscience of the Beagle, The Happy Policeman, Cradle of Splendor, and God's Fires, each of which combined science fiction plots with other genres in unconventional ways. Several of her short-fiction works were republished in the 1998 collection Eating Memories.
Anthony's best-known and most critically acclaimed work is probably 1993's Brother Termite, a tale of political intrigue told from the perspective of the leader of extraterrestrials who have occupied the United States. James Cameron acquired the movie rights to Brother Termite and John Sayles wrote a script, but the movie has not been produced.
Following her initial success, Anthony taught creative writing at Southern Methodist University for three years, and as her career progressed she moved farther away from the traditional boundaries of the science fiction genre. Her 1998 novel Flanders -- the highly metaphysical story of an American sharpshooter in World War I -- represented a clean break with her science fiction past and her final outing with Ace Books. It was a critical, if not commercial, success.
After the publication of Flanders, Anthony ceased writing science fiction to work as a screenwriter, though none of her scripts have been green-lighted. Anthony completed a new novel in 2006, but it remains unpublished.
Anthony lived in Brazil during the 1970s and later drew upon that experience for Cradle of Splendor.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"Cold Allies" takes place in the not too distant future and shows us a world at war over the Earth's dwindling recources, but fighting it with conventional weaponry (sometimes using technologically advanced weapons, sometimes using World War I mentality). Throughout this conflict, the enigmatic aliens often appear over the battle fields, their purpose unknown.
Like the unfathonable cattle mutilations and human abductions that are replete in UFOlogy, along with the "Foo-fighter" lore of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Anthony uses these phenomena to draw in the reader, and true to the UFO mystery itself, she gives no answers as to why, nor to what purpose the aliens may have in abducting and/or mutilating the human victims. The reader is left wondering (as was intended), are the aliens allies or are they dispassionate creatures putting us under their microscope?
"Cold Allies" is a fast read (I found it hard to put down), and like "Brother Termite", is a well thought out character-driven novel. If you think UFO's are all hogwash or have not looked into this phenomenon, then I doubt that this novel is for you. However, if you have more than just a passing interest in UFOlogy, you should really enjoy this novel. Between 1 and 10, "Cold Allies" gets a solid 8.
The first I finished was "Cold Allies" and it is a fantastic book. The storyline kept me turning the pages until I finished it in one sitting and the ending... though not quite as frustrating as "God's Fires" still left me unsatisfied.
It seems that Ms Anthony just can't come up with an ending that makes sense, that brings closure to her stories of Human and Alien intercourse. (Not the sexual kind.) The humans in the story had closure in some sense with everything except the aliens, just like in "God's Fires" and just like "The Happy Policeman" which I also just finished reading.
This is so frustrating because this lady can really hold your attention. Her writing is clear and, in places, poetic. I just wish she could close a science fiction book properly.
Oh well. I still have "Brother Termite", "Conscience of the Beagle" and "Eating Memories" to read. Let's see how it goes.
In Cold Allies, climatic change has lead to North Africa and the Middle East to completely dry up and all the Islamic countries have banded together and invaded Europe so as to avoid starving to death. The United States is a willing if slightly ineffecvtive ally to the Europeans, having had its economy and population devastated by the same climatic changes which have also put much of the USA under water.
The story revolves around the involvement (or lack of) in this war of a mysterious alien presence. The presence manifests itself as a blue globe and it invariably shows up at the sites of major battles in the European theatre.
The blue globe seems to have a strange attraction to a remotely controlled battle robot (think Mech-Warrior) whose satellite connected controller is so psychically connected to the robot that his persona appears to be felt by the globe through the inanimate workings of the machine.
The story line is part future history, part war drama and part alien mystery. The future history is interesting, the war drama is compelling with rich, complex characters, and the alien mystery is ultimately, well.... mysterious. Chris Carter, producer of the XFiles once said that what made episodes of that show frightening was that they never showed too much detail of the "monster". It was always shrouded in darkness. Anthony treats her aliens in a similar way, never anthropomorphizing them. This is achieved perfectly in her book God's Fires and it possibly a little overdone in Cold Allies, but I enjoyed it a lot none the less.
It did not occur to them that the U. S. and Europe might fight World War III against a bunch of little countries united by religion, language, and simple, implacable revulsion towards the modern world. It occured instead to Patricia Anthony. And to think that when I first read this book (before the first paperback edition had been printed), I telephoned Ms. Anthony to chide her for making U. S. tanks too easy to kill in her book.
Even if the factor unifying the Arabs in her book is food insecurity (as a result of global warming making their already arid homelands more or less uninhabitable), she did come up with what wound up being the most accurate prediction of World War III. And by saying that, of course, I do stick my neck out a ways. All right, I admit that AS OF THIS WRITING, we aren't fighting all the Arab countries. The key words in that statement are capitalized.
And I also admit that aliens may never have visited here, or even if they have, may think our predicament so hopeless or our problem-solving abilities so pathetic that they would consider us not worth the effort of saving. Having the good ol' world restored by Mr. Blue for the price of two permanently abducted service members is just a bit intellectually dishonest, and the scene where SACEUR is taken in by a human "psychic" is ludicrous. For her part, Anthony attempts to restore the Victorian consensus that God (wearing the guise of a mysterious alien probe/organism) is clearly interested in human progress. Her thinking about how technology would transform war, however, is visionary even if not capable of being fully realized in a scant eight years. Never fear - the war will last longer than that, though perhaps not quite long enough for everybody's croplands to dry up on their own.