August 13, 2015

Glory's War by Alfred Coppel

Title:  Glory's War
Author:  Alfred Coppel
Pages:  309
Genre:  Science Fiction
Publisher:  Tor, 1995

Synopsis:  It was the goldenwings that brought the remaining humans to colonize other planets in the last days of the Islamic/Christian Holy War (jihad) that was destroying the Earth. That was thousands of years ago. Now there is only Glory. The crew is wired into the computer that runs it and, in essence, is tapped into Glory's mind. It carries supplies ordered long ago and is about to land on a planet that has been warring with another for eons. Each side sets out to capture the ship and commandeer the supplies. While orbiting one of the planets, the crew discovers that there is an entity out in space (no shape, no structure) that feeds on human emotions. In fighting off this force, Glory and her crew become one and ancient self-defense mechanisms are activated to protect her. The battle first between the planets and then between Glory and her crew against the entity make for an action-packed story with a crackerjack ending.

Review:  This story wasn't nearly as good as the last one.  It centers around a pair of twin planets, one of which is almost paradise compared to the other.  The second, less hospitable planet, was settled accidentally when the goldenwing that was carrying the settlers got hit by space debris.  They were sent to the planet as a last ditch effort to save their lives from a spaceship that was fatally wounded.

The people on the nicer planet are sort of Christians who also follow some Sharia teachings.  The accidental settlers on the nearly barren planet are Muslim.  Guess what?  They've been fighting a war for hundreds of years to decide who gets to live on the nicer planet.  Nope, they can't possibly share it.  Absolutely not.  When Glory shows up with some mining equipment ordered 100 years ago, of course both factions want her for themselves so they can finally win the war.

The whole religious fervor and killing in the name of God (or Allah or Ullah, as they call Him in the book) story line just hit a tiny bit too close to home for me, considering it's in the newspapers just about every day.  And, as I suspected, one of the new crew members, Broni, aggravates me endlessly.

The really interesting part of the story is the entity they encounter, which may be from another universe or dimension, and which seems to be attracted to and feed upon strong emotions.  The two planets are just rife with hatred and fear and all sorts of strong emotions and it makes itself known, killing off quite a few of the warlike people from both planets.  The other good part is that the people from both planets who survived trying to take over Glory are marooned all together in a bitter, cold wasteland in the arctic region of the nicer planet, where presumably they will be forced to work together for once or die.  If they survive long enough, maybe somebody will find them and they can go home a little wiser.

So far, this series has brought me to planets with apartheid and jihad.  I'm glad to note that the next book is not about Nazis.  It's a relief since the only reason I'm reading the third, and last, book of this series is I want to find out more about this entity.

Rating:  4 / 10

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