The Barnes & Noble Review
This novel from Alan Dean Foster is a must-read for fans of his Commonwealth series. Flinx, the telepath in search of his past, and his friend Pip, the mini-dragon, are back -- and this time the adventure is wilder than ever.
Flinx and Pip come back to Earth searching for clues to Flinx's mysterious origins. After seducing an unsuspecting government worker to access classified files, he uncovers connections between his mother and a secret society. He tracks members of the group back to a remote desert planet but before he can get answers, he is captured by carnivorous Aann!
In an interview, Foster said he thought Reunion would surprise and please fans of the series -- and that's exactly what it does. There are so many unbelievable twists of fate in this book that I feel compelled to tell you about them -- but that would ruin the experience. Trust me when I say this book will drop some serious bombs into the Commonwealth universe. It's like epic adventure, science fiction, soap opera and sarcastic comedy all in one. (Paul Goat Allen)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bestseller Foster has created yet another entertaining adventure story in the far-flung reaches of a far-future outer space. Featuring the Alaspinian minidrag Pip and the intellectually enhanced Phillip Lynx (Flinx), this is the seventh in an ongoing series that began with For Love of Mother Not. There are few real surprises in this nostalgic novel, as Flinx continues to pursue all sources of knowledge of his birth parents. In his quest he runs into previously introduced nemeses like the alien AAnn and another genetically enhanced person like himself, the adolescent woman Mahnahmi, who turns out to be more closely linked and more dangerous than was previously revealed. He finds he has unsuspected allies, including intelligent vegetal life and a souped-up spaceship, all the bases of plots from earlier novels. The penultimate adventure links Flinx with a huge alien artifact on the moon of a distant planet, Pyrassis, always an appealing adventure-plot element. There, after hardship and seemingly certain extinction, he communes with the alien intelligence and plants the seeds (remember the intelligent plants?) that alert us to the possibility of future exploits. Using the traditional cliff-hangers and narrow escapes of classic SF adventure page-turners, and propelling Flinx from one crisis to another, from moral dilemma to deus-ex-machina, Foster enlists multiple formulas for a surefire, if comfortably predictable, reading experience that should appeal to space-opera fans. (May 29) FYI: Foster is also known for his novelizations of such films as Star Wars, the first three Alien pictures and Alien Nation. His novel Cyber War won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first science fiction work ever to do so. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Philip Lynx, better known as Flinx, and his Alaspinian minidrag, Pip, travel to Earth to track down more information about Flinx's past as an experiment in eugenics by the now-outlawed Meliorare Society. When he discovers a computer file that might hold the answers to his questions, the file disappears, leading Flinx on a chase across the galaxy to the empire of the reptilian Aann, a race not likely to welcome him. After a grueling trek across an arid planet, Flinx finds himself involved in something far more complicated and personal than he ever intended. Indeed, the reunion of the title is extremely personal, as Flinx confronts an old acquaintance and learns his true relationship to her. The narrative is overwritten and stilted, and the result is a story that distances the reader. Sometimes the text is so convoluted that it is funny, although there is little indication that humor is Foster's intention. Similarly, the characterization is stiff; the narrator never lets the reader near Flinx. The plot is both solid and stolidFlinx proceeds from point A to B to C with some fortuitous rescues interspersed into the plot line. Although Foster does a fairly good job of telling the back story, readers familiar with the previous books will get more out of this title than those reading the series for the first time. Foster is popular enough that someone must be reading his books. This title is appropriate for larger collections and for libraries that own the previous titles. VOYA CODES: 2Q 2P S A/YA (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001,Ballantine, 329p, $24. Ages 15 to Adult. Reviewer: Donna Scanlon
Using his empathic powers to infiltrate a top-security complex in search of information regarding his mysterious past, the genetically enhanced Flinx is pursued by enemies who would exploit his talents. Foster's first foray in five years into his Humanx series (Mid-Flinx) features more rollicking planet-hopping adventures by the intrepid and resourceful Flinx and his minidrag companion Pip. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/01.] Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
After five years, the Flinx and Pip far-future series reappears (Mid-Flinx, 1995). Flinx, the product of illegal genetic experiments, has the intermittent ability to sense and sometimes control the emotions of those around him. Companion Pip's a similarly gifted venomous flying snake. This time the pair visits Earth, where Flinx attempts to pry information about his mysterious past from the planetary database. But the file to which he most wants access vanishes aboard a ship heading for Pyrassis, a planet so remote that it actually lies inside the empire of the reptilian-alien AAnn. When Flinx arrives at Pyrassis and attempts to probe his quarry, the ship infects his shuttle with a computer virus, causing him to crash on the planeta mineralogist's paradise, though all but waterless. While he's away, sentient alien plants aboard his own ship begin doing something enigmatic. After various adventures, Flinx, nearly dead of thirst, is rescued/captured by AAnn scientists studying a huge, ancient alien transmitter buried inside the planet. The transmitter signals to a remote moon that turns out to be an equally huge alien spaceship. Flinx manages to escape and heads for the moon, pursued by AAnn troops. The action's okay, but the plotting's outright shoddy: there's no real reason for any of the foregoing to happen; and the numerous puzzles remain annoyingly unexplained. Conclusion: the author's aiming to spin things out indefinitely.
From the Publisher
“Bestseller Foster has created yet another entertaining adventure story in the far-flung reaches of a far-future outer space. . . . Using the traditional cliff-hangers and narrow escapes of classic SF adventure page-turners, and propelling Flinx from one crisis to another, from moral dilemma to deus-ex-machina, Foster enlists multiple formulas for a surefire . . . reading experience that should appeal to space-opera fans.”
“Flinx’s trek through the deadly desert and his encounters with the AAnn make for a good read.”
Read an Excerpt
When bad people are chasing you, life is dangerous. When good people are chasing you, life is awkward. But when you are chasing yourself, the most simple facts of existence become disturbing, destabilizing, and a source of unending waking confusion.
So it was with Flinx, who in searching for the history of himself, found that he was once again treading upon the hallowed, mystic soil of the spherical blue-white womb among the stars that had given birth to his whole species. Only, the soil he was treading presently was being treated by those around him with something other than veneration, and a means of sourcing the information he hoped to uncover was still to be found.
Tacrica was a beautiful place in which to be discouraged.
Sensitive to his frustration, Pip had been acting fidgety for days. An iridescent flutter of pleated pink-and-
blue wings and lethal, diamond-backed body, she would rise from his shoulder to dart aimlessly about his head and neck before settling restlessly back down into her customary position of repose. As active as she was colorful, the mature female minidrag was the only thing he was presently wearing.
His nudity did not excite comment because every one of the other sun and water worshipers strolling or lying about on the seashore was similarly unclothed. In the human beach culture of 554 a.a., the superfluity of wearing clothing into the sea or along its edge had long been recognized. Protective sprays blocked harmful UV rays without damaging the skin, and frivolous, transitory painted highlights decorated bodies both attractive and past their prime. It was these often elaborate anatomical decorations that were the focus of admiring attention,
and not the commonplace nakedness that framed them.
Flinx flaunted no such artificial enhancements, unless one counted the Alaspinian minidrag coiled around his neck and left shoulder. Such contemporary cultural accoutrements were as alien to him as the primeval grains of sand beneath his feet. Culturally as well as historically,
he was an utter and complete stranger here. Nor was he comfortable among the throngs of people. With its still unsettled steppes and unexplored reaches, Moth, where he had grown up, was far more familiar to him. He was more at home in the jungles of Alaspin, or among the blind Sumacrea of Longtunnel, or even in the aggressive world-girdling rain forest of Midworld. Anyplace but here. Anywhere but Earth.
Yet it was to Earth he had finally come for a second time, in search of himself. All roads led to Terra, it was said, and it was as true for him as for anyone else. Beyond
Earth, the United Church had placed a moral imperative lock, an elaborate Edict, on all information about the Meliorares, the society of renegade eugenicists responsible for whatever bastard mutation he had become.
Travels and adventures elsewhere had left him with hints as to their doings, with fragmentary bits and pieces of knowledge that tantalized without satisfying. If he was ever going to unravel the ultimate secrets of his heritage, it was here.
Even so, he had been reluctant to come. Not because he was fearful of what he might find: He had long since matured beyond such fears. But because it was dangerous.
Not only did he want to learn all the details of his origins: so did others. Because of contacts he had been compelled to make, the United Church was now aware of him as an individual instead of merely as an overlooked statistic in the scientific record. As high-ranking an official as thranx Counselor Second Druvenmaquez had taken a personal interest in the red-haired, bright-eyed young man Flinx had become. The novice beach-goer smiled to himself. He had left the irascible, elderly thranx on Midworld, slipping away quietly when the science counselor had been occupied elsewhere. When he eventually discovered that the singular young human had taken surreptitious flight, the venerable thranx would be irked. He would have to be satisfied with what little he had already learned, because neither his people nor anyone else would be able to track Flinx's ship, the
Teacher, through space-plus.
Ever cautious, Flinx had decided for the moment to hew to the hoary principle that the best place to hide was in plain sight. What better place to do that than on one of the Commonwealth's twin world centers of government and religion, where he had come looking for information years ago? It was where he needed to be anyway, if he was ever going to find out the truth about himself. In addition to his burgeoning curiosity, there had come upon him in the past year a new sense of urgency. With the onset of full adulthood looming over him, he could feel himself changing, in slow and sometimes not-so-subtle ways. Each month, it seemed, brought a new revelation.
He could not define all the changes, could not quarantine and assess every one of them, but their periodic nebulosity rendered them no less real. Something was happening to him, inside him. The self he had known since infancy was becoming something else.
He was scared. With no one to talk to, no one to confide in save a highly empathetic but nonsapient flying snake,
he could look only to himself for answers--answers he had always wished for but had never been able to acquire.
It was for those reasons he had taken the risk of coming back to Earth. If he was going to find what he needed to know, it lay buried somewhere deep within the immense volume of sheer accumulated knowledge that was one of the homeworld's greatest treasures.
But if he was home, as every human who came to
Earth was supposed to be, then why did he feel so much like an alien? It bothered him now even more than it had when last he had visited here some five years ago.
He tried to wean himself from the troubling chain of thought. Belaboring the accumulated neuroses of twenty years would solve nothing. He was here on a fact-finding mission; nothing more, nothing less. It was important to focus his attention and efforts, not only in hopes of securing the information he sought, but in order to avoid the attention of the authorities. With the exception of the thranx Druvenmaquez and his underlings, who were specifically looking for him, what other agencies and individuals might also be interested in one Philip Lynx he did not know. It did not matter. Until he left the home-world,
a little healthy paranoia would help to preserve him--but not if he allowed his thoughts to float aimlessly,
adrift in a distraught sea of incomplete memories and internal conflicts.
Of course, he might well secure answers to all the questions that tormented him by the simple expedient of turning himself in. Druvenmaquez or a specialist in some other relevant bureau would gladly take the plunge into the secrets of him. But once committed to such research,
he would not be allowed to leave whenever it might please him. Guinea pigs had no bill of rights. Revealing himself might also expose him to the scrutiny of those he wished to avoid--the great trading houses, other private concerns, the possible remnants of certain heretical and outlawed societies, and others. Becoming a potentially profitable lab subject carried with it dangers of its own--
a long, healthy, and happy future not necessarily being among them.
Somehow he had to discover himself by himself, without alerting to his presence the very authorities who might help alleviate his seemingly illimitable anxieties.
And he had to do it quickly, before the changes he was experiencing threatened to overwhelm him.
For one thing, the unpredictable, skull-pounding headaches he had suffered from since childhood--the ones that caused blinding flashes of light behind his eyes--were growing worse, in intensity if not frequency. When and if it occurred, would he be able to tell the difference between a common headache and a cerebral hemorrhage? Would he be able to deal with the physical as well as the mental consequences of the changes he was undergoing? He needed answers to all the old questions about himself, as well as to the new ones, and he needed them soon.
Of all the billions of humans on all the settled worlds scattered across the vast length and breadth of the Commonwealth,
no one could claim that "nobody understands me" with the depth of veracity of a tall young redhead named Philip Lynx, who was called Flinx.
From the Paperback edition.