by Jerry Wright
Author: Pauline Ashwell
Publisher: Tor Books
Trade Paper: June, 1997
Well, this seems to be my month for Tor Books. Not too surprising, as Tor and Baen are probably my two favorite publishers at this time.
Well, I stumbled across Project Farcry last week, and as I'm an admirer of Pauline Ashwell (AKA Paul Ash) I thought I'd give this a try. Well... What do you know. The novel starts with "Big Sword", which I had forgotten was by "Paul Ash". I remember THAT story from a long time ago. It's been reprinted several times, and deservedly so. The characters of Ricky Jordan and the eponymous Big Sword are well delineated, and the science (in this case Biology) fits right in and not only makes sense, but is a learning experience for the reader.
Wait a second... Pauline Ashwell is also the author of the inimitable "Lizzie Lee" stories such as "Unwillingly To School". She's good. Also funny. Also Pauline Ashwell is a psuedonym of Pauline Whitby. Which means we still don't know a lot about her, except she's been writing for a long time. Ah well.
The next section of the novel is "The Man Who Stayed Behind". I remember reading this when it came out in Analog back in the late 80s. I did NOT connect Richard Jordan "the boy who went to Space" with Ricky Jordan of "Big Sword" fame. Slow I guess. Anyway, little Ricky, telepath communicator to Aliens, is now a young man who still is trying to figure out what real value telepathy has. All it has ever done in the past has got him into trouble as a snoop and troublemaker.
The other three sections of this book; "Operation Whistler", "One More River", and "Point Blank" were written to make this a complete novel, and don't seem to have been published elsewhere. As is usual in a fixup, there are places where the story is a bit jumpy, but the characters of Richard, Sebastian Karel, Candida Marchetti, and others come alive as people you'd like to know.
The book is out of print, but there are tons of them available on Amazon, and no doubt elsewhere. The cover, while interesting, is somewhat silly, with the human (probably Richard) dressed in a very Star Trekky uniform, and the Lambdan insect character about 10 times life-size. Oh well.