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Migration Hardcover – May 11 2010
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About the Author
James P. Hogan is a science fiction writer in the grand tradition, combining informed and accurate speculation from the cutting edge of science and technology with suspenseful story-telling and living, breathing characters. His first novel was greeted by Isaac Asimov with the rave, “Pure science fiction . . . Arthur Clarke, move over!” and his subsequent work quickly consolidated his reputation as a major SF author. He has written nearly twenty novels including Cradle of Saturn and Bug Park (both Baen), the Giants series (Del Rey), the New York Times bestsellers The Proteus Operation and Endgame Enigma, and the Prometheus Award Winner The Multiplex Man.
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The pre-Conflagration world had sent out interstellar probes to nearby solar systems containing planets. One had investigated Hera and then returned with data about the planet. Apparently Hera is biologically active with an viable atmosphere.
In this novel, Korshak is a creator and performer of magical tricks and illusions. He loves a princess of Arigane and is determined to set her free from her father and betrothed.
Ronti is Korshak's partner and assistant. He is also a juggler and acrobat.
Vaydien is the daughter of the ruler of Arigane. Her father Shandrahl has betrothed her to Zileg, the Crown Prince of Urst. She hopes that Korshak will not forget her.
Masumichi Shikoba is a recruiter for the Aurora complement. He also makes robots.
Andri Lubanov is an officer in the Internal Security Office of the Sofian military. He disagrees with the idea behind the migration.
Tek is a robotic prototype developed by Masumichi. It is exposed to various human activities to expand its knowledge base.
In this story, Korshak has returned to Escalos to perform at court. He has a new trick, a disappearance box. He intends to use it to get Vaydien away from Shandrahl and Zileg.
Ronti visits the kitchen to catch up on gossip and to recruit a helper. Korshak lures Vaydien outside her quarters and briefs her on her role. That evening, Korshak performs for Shandrahl and his guests and gets away with Vaydien.
Korshak, Vaydien, Ronti and Mirsto -- the court physician and Vaydien's friend -- slip through the escape tunnel and ride away from the palace. Unknown to them, Zileg has guessed their destination and is in hot pursuit with a troop of cavalry.
Meanwhile, Masumichi is making a final effort to retrieve the last few recruits -- and his family -- from Earth before the starship departs the system. Zileg has cornered the fugitives and is moving in for the capture when a lander appears overhead. Thanks to the unforeseen actions of a robot on the lander, the fugitives escape and join the Aurora complement.
A conspiracy among the Sofi population moves on the launch facilities to prevent the departure of the starship. Fortunately for the Aurora crew, Lubanov is a double agent and keeps the Directorate of Aurora informed of the conspiracy plans. He leaves two days before the coup tries to take the starship supplies.
Several years later, Masumichi discovers that Tek is missing. He had taken the robot with him to the amusement area and left instructions for it to rejoin him later. It never appear at the rendezvous point.
Masumichi asks Korshak to investigate. Naturally, Korshak takes Ronti with him in the investigation. They find that the robot had tried to join a cult, but was rejected.
Korshak learns that many cults send their recruits to Plantation, a vessel within the Auroran Constellation. He goes to that satellite to learn if Tek had also gone there. He convinces an official on the habitat to provide him with directions that might lead to Tek.
Korshak visits friends while he is looking for Tek. Their daughter thinks Korshak will force Tek to return to Aurora and sends a warning to the robot. When Korshak reaches the place where Tek had been working, the robot had already gone.
This tale involves Korshak in a politics. He had previously avoided any thinking on governments, considering all of them as bad or worse. Now he is caught in the middle of a conflict between rival governmental systems.
The story presents a form of government in Sofi and the Aurora that is somewhat like an elective tyranny similar to Athenian democracy. But the executive is not selected by the citizens, but by popularly elected representatives. This group -- like the electoral college -- then selects the executive. There are no legislators and apparently judges are appointed by the executive.
This form of government concentrates all powers in a single individual rather than a committee. Decisions can be made without compromises. Although the author did not describe any method of recall -- other than revolt -- one assumes that some method exists to remove an ineffective or pernicious executive.
The story also points out that arguments of growth limits only reflect restrictive viewpoints and political constraints. World hunger results more from national rivalry than true scarcity. Human ingenuity has always made fools out of the doomsayers.
Essentially, the story stresses cooperation over competition. Every person has the opportunity to seek out compatible individuals and to share the resources of the state, but not to block others from such resources. In other words, it combines economic socialism with personal liberty under an autocratic government.
This novel does not complete the migration to Hera. Maybe there will be a sequel describing their exploits on the planet. Read and enjoy!
Highly recommended for Hogan fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of governmental systems, social conflicts, and personal competence.
-Arthur W. Jordin