source for free and affordable eBooks


Powered by FreeFind

Site search
Web search

    Review of SLIDING SCALES by Alan Dean Foster (see his website)


    Del Rey, November 2004

    Upon the urging of his spaceship, Flinx decides to take a vacation on a little-known desert planet that is nominally independent but operating within the zone of control of the AAnn Empire. The AAnn aren't precisely at war with the humans and their Thranx allies, but they aren't exactly at peace either--and Flinx, along with his pet flying lizard Pip, are admitted only if accompanied by a minder, the AAnn, Takuuna VBXLLW.

    When the minder loses his temper and pushes Flinx over a cliff, the human nearly dies and loses his memory. But the minder is promoted to be in charge of anti-terrorism activities. Because somewhere on the planet, someone, or some group of someones, has decided that the AAnn have got to go. Could the human really have been in league with the local Vssey? One thing Takuuna knows for sure--if the human comes back and remembers Takuuna's brief loss of control, the results would not be career-enhancing. The war on terrorism is important, of course, but not more important than Takuuna's career growth--especially not to Takuuna.

    Rescued by a commune of low-status AAnn artists, Flinx spends time with the semi-enemy aliens, and discovers a growing affection toward many of them. Gradually, most members of the commune come to accept him as a fellow artist. While he wishes for a return of his memory and some sense of his goals in life, he savors the beauty and art around him. Of course, his peace can't last--because eventually Takuuna will learn that the human isn't dead and is a threat to his future.

    Author Alan Dean Foster (see more reviews of novels by Foster) combines an engaging space-opera tale with a look at the way career-minded bureaucrats and politicians can create vast conspiracies out of their own needs and ambitions. Foster toys with the notion that art might be a unifying theme between intelligent species--and part of a bridge that might be more effective than embassies and politicians. It's an idealistic view, but he develops it well.

    Fans of the Pip & Flinx series will find SLIDING SCALES to be a bit more psychological and a lot less adventure-oriented than they are used to. From a continuity perspective, the critical contribution of SLIDING SCALES appears to be Flinx's greater understanding of the AAnn--and the de-demonification of this interesting and dangerous species.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 12/21/04

    Ready to buy it? Click the button:

    Want to learn more?
    Click this link and see more reviews, similar books, and other Amazon information on SLIDING SCALES from

    Rather buy it from Barnes and Noble?
    Click this link for SLIDING SCALES from Barnes and

    Buy the eBook version from

    Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.