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I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just Finished Reading: Homegoing by Frederik Pohl

Young Sandy Washington is going home – or more accurately being delivered home by his alien family. Sandy is an orphan – raised on a starship on its thousand year long voyage, cast off from its home-world into the void and in effect lost. Sandy has been brought up on old TV and movies which had, rather mysteriously, stopped being received by the ship decades before. So his new family and Sandy himself hope that their second-hand knowledge will help him blend into human society before the aliens reveal themselves to an unsuspecting world. Unfortunately for all concerned the Earth has changed a great deal from Sandy’s expectations and its occupants are far from unsuspecting. But what are the alien’s real motives for returning Sandy and who is Sandy really?

I haven’t read any Pohl for a very long time and thought I should reacquaint myself with him. Whilst hardly the ‘dazzling tale’ promised by the cover, this was certainly a pleasant enough read – if a little plodding and ordinary. The characterisation was adequate and the aliens where fairly interesting. The portrayal of a post Global Warming world was fairly well handled and a bit of a surprise considering that the book was published in 1989 before such things had become the accepted vision of the future. In many ways a juvenile novel it provided just enough entertainment to keep the pages turning. Reasonable enough I suppose but if you want to try this author out I’d recommend the first 3 books of his Heechee series rather than this pedestrian example of his work.


dbackdad said...

I haven't read Pohl in forever. Don't think I've read this particular book. I might have to blow off the dust on a few of my Pohl paperbacks and revisit his works.

CyberKitten said...

I read most of the classic SF books/authors in my 20's which is why you don't often see people like Pohl get a mention here. Also, although they provided me with my grounding in the genre I feel that I've outgrown many of them. These days I prefer harder grittier stuff - both in SF and elsewhere.