Saturday, 20 September 2008

Review: "Let the Fire Fall" by Kate Wilhelm

Having read and enjoyed "Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang" by Kate Wilhelm, I was pleased to pick up "Let the Fire Fall" on a recent trip to Leakey's bookshop in Inverness. I've always enjoyed used bookstores as a source of books that are no longer in print, and Leakey's did not disappoint in this case.

"Let the Fire Fall" is a novel about an alien ship landing on Earth, and about a single survivor making his way in a world gripped by Millennial hysteria. The fear and paranoia of the age are fueled by an evangelist, who amasses power and influence through a blend of showmanship and gut instinct.

I'm reminded of "The World Jones Made" by Philip K. Dick. Both feature fear, spawned by an encounter with aliens, and an evangelist rising to power. I'm also reminded of "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein. The main character in "Let the Fire Fall" is not a human with an alien upbringing, but an alien with a human upbringing who strikes out on his own and becomes a self-made individual, yearning to learn about his past.

This is a good book. Not quite as classic as "Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang", but still well worth picking up at a library or used book store.

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