Sliding Scales

Sliding Scales

Alan Dean Foster

Book 10.0 of Pip Flinx

Language: English

Published: Sep 26, 2005

Words: 80280
Pages: 307


From Publishers Weekly Flinx and Pip, that daring duo of man and "minidrag" (a flying snake), take a break—or try to—from fighting the forces of evil in Foster's surprisingly dark ninth entry (after 2003's *Flinx's Folly*) in an SF series usually considered light on substance but heavy on fun. Philip "Flinx" Lynx, the young Commonwealth hero, is exhausted. He may hold the key to saving the universe, but he doesn't care. He broods over Clarity Held, the injured girlfriend he left behind in *Flinx's Folly*. Teacher, his ever-helpful ship-mind, suggests a vacation. Unfortunately, Flinx travels to Jast, a planet caught in a rising conflict between two sentient species, the mushroom-like Vssey and the reptilian AAnns. An ambitious AAnn secondary administrator, Takuuna, wants Jast allied with the Empire at any cost, including subterfuge, terrorism and murder. His mistrust of "softskinned" humans leads to an attempt on Flinx's life, but Chraluuc, an AAnn artisan, finds Flinx and nurses him back to health as the outcast artists of Tier courageously welcome him into their family. Foster exhibits a keen eye for depicting alien art forms and injects a cohesion lacking in some earlier installments, giving the series a much-needed energy boost. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From School Library Journal Adult/High School–On the run, the young human Flinx and his companion, Pip, an Alaspasian flying snake, arrive on the planet Jast for a "vacation," but find it under the influence of the AAn Empire, enemy of the Humanx Commonwealth. Inspector Taruuna, assigned to Flinx as guide (and watchdog), attacks him and leaves the "spy" for dead. Rescued and given shelter by the Tier, an AAn artists' colony, Flinx recovers but has lost his memory. The situation is further complicated by the beginning of local resistance to AAn control. Foster does a wonderful job of creating an alien world: the varied life-forms on Jast use air-filled bladders for locomotion. The sentient Vssey, tubular and tentacled, make decisions by consensus reached after lengthy discussion, infuriating the reptilian AAn; they believe in hierarchy and survival of the fittest. Flinx and the Tier find common ground despite major cultural differences; he and Craluuc, a female artist, form a particularly strong bond. When Taruuna learns that Flinx is alive, the Tier must decide whether to defy the order to turn him in. Familiarity with previous Pip and Flinx books is assumed. Flinx's final defense against Taruuna may seem a bit out-of-the-blue, but it is in line with the character's evolving abilities throughout the series. An entertaining, imaginative adventure with a likable protagonist._–Sandy Freund, Richard Byrd Library, Fairfax County, VA_