Promises a lot but doesn't deliver the goods, June 3, 2000
Reviewer: Kali "bengaligirl" (United Kingdom)
Okay so I only spent 50 cents on this book at a thrift store but I expected more from it. The plot seems simple enough, Britain is on the verge ecological disaster, a Fascist government is in power, and to make things worse a group of children are getting together, children born with a strange power that enables them to manipulate adults to do what they want. The children are led by David who has worked out that the same unknown man has fathered them, and it is to him they owe their unusual gift. Enter a curious reporter called Peter and a sociologist Claudia whose investigation leads them to some astounding theories about genetics and the children's heritage. Put this all together and you should have an exciting science-fiction thriller that keeps you constantly on your toes. Sadly this book does not do that. The plot which is sound in itself becomes nothing more than a spring-board for the various sexual adventures of the gifted youngsters, who turn out to be promiscuous as well as talented. The adult characters aren't much better, and it is almost impossible to visualize the main protagonists because they are so one-dimensional. I was sorely disappointed with this book, especially as it promised so much from the synopsis. Reading it was like reading a manuscript written in treacle, it was messy and sticky, and I felt quite sick after I'd finished it! It gets two stars instead of one simply because the cover and the synopsis were eye catching, but other than that the book is a real dud. Sad but true.
I love John Brunner's work but this one is absolutely not his best. I rate a book primarily on two things
1. Does it make me interested enough to finish.
2. Do I want to read it again.
This book failed # two!
Brunner's best works, I have sat up all night to re-read one or more.
If you have not read "The Sheep Look Up" or "Stand on Zanzibar"....find them and read.