Bewildering Stories

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Book Review:
Timothy Zahn, The Green and the Gray

by Jerry Wright

The Green and the Gray
Author: Timothy Zahn
Publisher: Tor Science Fiction
Mass Paper: 560 pages
0765346451 Price: $7.99
I like Timothy Zahn. He writes adult books with an ability to entertain without the mentally deadening scurf of profanity and foulness. Case in point -- The electric utility foreman is explaining what they've had to do because of the major power outage and explosion of lighting by the park:
"Mostly, we just checked the cables and brought in a spitload of new bulbs."
The foreman shrugged, "The wife wants me to cut back on the language. The kids are starting to pick it up."
I like that. It is clever. Oh well, aside from that, this is a fast moving SF Detective novel, featuring a young couple, Roger and Caroline Whittier, and a New York cop, Fierenzo, as well as almost thirty more other characters, each lovingly, cleverly delineated.

So what has Mr. Zahn presented us? A mystery, the possibility of thousands of New Yorkers dying, and two tiny groups of aliens who've fled the destruction of their homeworld, and who ended up in NYC in the late 20s, not knowing that their erstwhile antagonists have ended up in the city as well. And three hapless humans stuck in the middle.

And now, more than 75 years later, the two groups accidently stumble upon each other, and the leaders of each are ready for conflict once again. And yet it seems that the sacrificial death of 12-year-old Melantha Green will allow the two groups to come to a truce.

The tree-loving "Shrieking" Greens and the wall-climbing sometimes invisible "hammergun" using Grays are about to destroy some of New York in their mad need to kill each other, and somehow, our three human protagonists must unravel the mystery of the Greens and the Grays, and their societies, without the entanglements of having to deal with Homeland Security, and all the rest of it. "Aliens among us"? Yes. But aliens you will enjoy getting to know.

The story isn't perfect, and there are a few flaws one could drive a truck through, but all that aside, this is an exciting driving novel that kept ME glued until I finished it.

Copyright © 2006 Jerry Wright and Bewildering Stories

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