CanVention 22 and the Aurora Awards
If It's Tuesday,
this must be TOR
Cosmonaut Keep by Ken Macleod
The Alchemists Door
by Lisa Goldstein
ed by Harry Turtledove
by Stanley Schmidt
Logic by Laurie J. Marks
Iron Grail by John Woodstock
The Sacred Pool by L. Warren Douglas
The Sky So Big And Black by John Barnes
Spaceland by Rudy Rucker
Straw Men by Michael
Sisters of the Raven by Barbara Hambly
To Trade The Stars
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Ellen Datlow and
Murder Mysteries. Original short
story and radio play by Neil Gaiman. Graphic story script and art by P.
Journal of Pulse Pounding Narratives
& Metropolis Essay
Reign of Fire
Longest Way Home by Robert
List Price: $25.95
Hardcover - 304 pages (July 2002)
Avon EOS; ISBN:
Review by Ernest Lilley
Check out this book at:
Joseph Master Keilloran of House Keilloran has the
bad timing to be away on a visit to his kinfolk the Getfen when he
awakes in the middle of the night to find himself in the middle of an
slave uprising. After 1500 years of subjugation, the Folk have decided
to throw off the yoke of oppression in
one long night of bloodshed.
Millennia before, human explorers had come to the
planet Joseph's people call Homeworld and settled down to ultimately
adopt a quiet agrarian lifestyle. Calling themselves the Folk, they seem
to have lived in balance with the land and the native alien populations,
who took little notice of them. Then the Masters arrived, subjugated the
earlier settlers, and set themselves up as slave owners, complete with plantations
and manor houses.
This arrangement seems to have worked for quite a
while, until the unexpected, even unimaginable, uprising that kills, as
far as Joseph knows, every Master on the northern continent of Manza.
So, after being saved from being killed in his bed like the rest of the
Masters, he's whisked out of the manor and into the woods by a faithful
servant who can't adjust to the idea of usurping the Masters that had
enslaved her people millennia ago.
Joseph, who has never known hardship, always slept in a clean bed, and
whose hardy teenage appetite has never been frustrated finds himself
anew in the long trek southward to his home.
Ten thousand miles is pretty far from home, considerably more than a day
trip, which he knows intellectually, but has a bit of trouble grasping
in reality. Always in danger of starvation, he manages to keep himself
alive by learning some woods craft, making use of his handy kit of Swiss-army
knife type gadgets, and by finding a place among the indigenous native
tribes he meets in the wilds.
The whole experience shakes his world, made up of hereditary lineages of
human estate owners and enslaved human folk populations, to the core.
Early on he spends time with the Indigine, one of the several sentient
alien races, whom his father had studied a bit, and finds a role healing
their sick. He also learns about their worldview, in which seasons come,
and seasons go, but the important things are not of this world...which
means that the humans are just a chapter in the book of life, and not
important beyond their tenure, however brief or long it may be.
Joseph finds that he is part of a larger universe than he had imagined.
He also finds that he likes the isolation that his forced march has
imposed on him, and he wonders who he will be when he returns to his
family so far away, returns to take the reigns of the estate as he has
been groomed to do since birth.
Along the way he makes friends with the Indigene chief, though the
notion of friendship turns out to be alien enough to them that he never
knows where he stands. Useful as a doctor, he gets traded from tribe to
tribe, mostly in the direction he wants to go, until he finally has to
set out on his own, nearly dying as he struggles to cross a mountain
range and collapsing at the outskirts of a Folk village. Emaciated and nearly dead, he is taken in
and healed by the race that sought to kill all like him, protected by
the differences between himself and the distant cousins that he had come
to visit. In the arms of a Folk girl nearly his own age he finds both
comfort and confusion as struggles to redefine his place in the
At 304 pages, The Longest Way Home isn't the longest book you'll
encounter, though it may well be the start of another series for this
grand master. If so, it has an excellent beginning, and plenty of room
to develop, but if not, the book can stand by itself quite nicely. It
poses plenty of questions about the human condition and if it doesn't
answer them all, that may be all the better.
Joseph's trek across the alien wilderness and his encounters with other
races and folkways feels almost like an Ursula K. LeGuin story, and it
would be a terrific novel for readers in their mid teens to discover.
Librarians please note, that there is a pretty solid sex scene in there
somewhere (pg 203-210), but I hope that doesn't make it a banned book
these days. It
definitely belongs on library bookshelves.