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"Vuelva a intentarlo"
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"Vuelva a intentarlo"
In this mind-wrenching classic of science fiction, the visionary novelist Thomas Sturgeon places humanity on a collision course with an organism of unimaginable power and malevolence and reminds us how much we depend on each other - or even on a wretch like Gurlick.
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The story begins fairly slowly, setting up a lot of unrelated scenes, and builds gradually until there is a wonderful rush from about two-thirds of the way through, building until the end. I was in such a hurry to read it that I found the final chapter slightly confusing and had to re-read it twice to work out who won. Undoubtedly my failing!
What let this book down unfortunately, was the style of the narrative which was reminiscent of all those '70s disaster movies (very different people in one situation, all reacting) and it felt a bit tired. although I was well-aware this was written years before The Poseiden Adventure and Towering Inferno and probably appeared fresh in the '50s.
All-in-all, an excellent story by a master of sci-fi which failed because it was dated. NOT Sturgeon's fault, but my own fault for not being old enough to enjoy it at the time of writing .
Beyond the simple concept of a hivemind and it's potential susceptibility to global control by an alien invader, Sturgeon intersperses a series of vignettes that basically offers glimpses of the dark side of an intelligent species lacking a hivemind. The result is that while the alien hopes to initiate a hivemind and thus present a route for its total control over humanity, the opposite results as humanity is now in a position to cast aside their petty differences and shallow personal desires and unite to defeat the alien. There's also the situation of alien first contact being forced to interact with the most cantankerous, frustrating, and all around disagreeable human on the planet that adds a comedic element to an otherwise serious storyline.
Unfortunately this compelling story gets a little lost in the threads of other mortals that only tangentially forward the story. While the novel is not long, it feels like it would have made an even better short story.