Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Review: "Jem" by Frederick Pohl

I just finished another in the excellent SF Masterworks series, "Jem" by Frederick Pohl. I had previously read all four books (are there more now?) in Pohl's Heechee saga (although I enjoyed the later ones in the kind of way you enjoy the fifth series of a television show, more because you enjoy the characters and less because of the novelty or originality).

Anyway, back to "Jem". "Jem" is a well-crafted story of space colonization from the ground floor up. The three main political blocs on Earth (countries which export fuel, countries which export food, and countries which export labor) each hope to exploit a newly discovered world to give them an advantage over their rivals. They each ally themselves with one of the three sentient races on the new world, and very nearly complete the cycle of arms race and then mutually assured destruction on two worlds.

A good book, a quick read, with some nice characters and excellent descriptions of the culture of the alien races. Highly recommended.

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