Friday, October 01, 2004

Course of Empire by K D Wentworth and Eric Flint

Great ALIEN/human culture clash

K. D. Wentworth shows that the promise of interesting interaction betwixt and between alien and human cultures in her previous two novels was not an 'empty promise'. In this novel she delivers a well thought out alien culture. And in a way that reminded me of C.J. Cherryh made the setting such that the humans in the story must adapt to the aliens culture. Not only does she avoid the clique of the human culture dominating, but she also avoids the old 'aliens conquer earth, valiant earthmen triumph in the end' storyline with a far more interesting plot.
The Jao conquered Earth two decades ago - and things on earth have been going downhill ever since. The Jao are in a war with the Ekhat and are conquering other races in a quest for resources. Except that humans believe the Ekhat are just 'boogie aliens' created by the Jao to keep subject races in line. A power play between two major Jao 'clans' brings a young Jao scion to earth. And opens up the possibility of change as the young Jao assumes his duties and learns about earth and earths' people.
The story makes interesting comments about the clash of cultures that could as easily be applied to the differences between human cultures. That reason, an open mind, willingness to listen, to learn about/from and to compromise are needed to allow two very different cultures to work together. That two cultures together have strengths that neither has on its' own.
But Wentworth weaves all of these into a great story that grabs you interest and drags you along on the journey the characters are undertaking. With plot, hidden sub-plots, characters you like/dislike, plots by the characters, a great culture clash and the fine writing I have come to expect from Wentworth this novel is definitely on my 'Best of 2003' list. Give the bibliophile in you a treat and read this novel.


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