When a book cover describes the contents within the novel as, “The One that You’ve Been Waiting For!” it must be amazing. I was pretty much compelled to buy the copy I ran across at Half Price Books. Hell, not only was it the book I was waiting for, but it was listed as “His Big One” and, sexual connotations aside, that’s one heck of a recommendation.
The cover also held a lot of promise. Just look at it. It drips sweet syrupy space action like nobody’s business. Just check out that Chewbacca Unleashed thing in the background. Is he about to attack our heroes or is he a friend?! I don’t know!! And look at that hero. That’s god damn Robert Mitchum. When was the last time you read a sci-fi book that starred Robert Mitchum? Yeah, I thought so.
Unfortunately, the book is terrible piece of shit.
I’m not going to get into too many details, because I really don’t want to think about this book any more than I have to. The “hero” of the book is a guy named Dan Brodersen who should have been named Manly Smartysen. Dan is a guy that is rugged, super intellegent, owns his own company and spaceship, smokes a pipe (What man’s man doesn’t smoke a pipe?), has a wife, kids, a mistress, and a couple of side mistresses to complement his main mistress. While that all sounds great, it leads to nothing. It’s like having Snake Plissken as a fork lift driver. He’s a great guy in the warehouse, but he certainly doesn’t live up to his potential.
The book’s biggest failing is that it takes forever to go anywhere and then when it does, the brakes are put back on to slow things to a dreadful crawl. You’d think that at least that bad ass alien beast on the cover would have made up for lack of action, but you’d be wrong. He doesn’t do shit. He’s actually quite weak and a sad sap for most of the book. He don’t even get to rip a bitch’s face off with his wicked claws. Lame, right? He even gets killed by a dart from what amounts to an Ewok. Ten lame.
This book should be sold with the header, “Poul Anderson Squeezes out the Weak Sauce.” I totally wasted my time reading this enormous tome when I could have spent it reading several books based on sci-fi films, video games, roleplaying games, or a mixture therein. To Hell with original ideas!
And not to ruin it for anyone, but it turns out the Avatar turns out to be Brodersen’s mistress. There, I just saved you a lot of wasted time.