Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Book Review: Frank Herbert & Bill Ranson – The Lazarus Effect (1983)

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The second book (third in the original series) from the Pandora series, The Lazarus Effect, presents the state of things at over half a millennia since the conscious spaceship, The Ship, brought its passengers to a world covered in water, Pandora, and left them there to learn to worship it or perish in extinction.

But the human race is stubborn and doesn’t give in that easily. With the seaweeds that populate the oceans reduced to a vegetable state, humans more or less control the planet. If that thing is even possible given the fact that there’s no ground left at the surface to live on and half of the population is degrading due to various mutations that plagues it, while life into the deep is still not an easy ride.

The society is separated in two distinct classes. The Islanders live in over populated cities built on huge rafts floating on the oceans. Life is poor except for those at the top, most people struggling to survive in a world that’s lacking in food and most basic supplies. Generation after generation of inland breeding of the descendents of the original crew from the ship and their clones and experimental mutants, the end result is not pretty on the eye or easy to live with. The only good part of this downward on the evolution path is that they learned to tolerate each other being less prone for discrimination based on physical flaws.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are the Mermens. They are normal humans who adapted their lifestyle to living under water, which is possible due to the advanced high-tech knowledge only they possess. Stronger and less inclined towards acceptance they hate and despise the Islanders, their innate hate making them go as far as planning attempts to sink the fragile islands without feeling remorse at the thought of the lives they’re taking as Islanders are guilty for destroying the seaweed ambient.

Mermens’ secret project is to restore the original environment on Pandora, and bring back the conscience into the seaweeds that form Avata, the over-all conscious being who used to be so unwelcoming towards the first colonist. With their help they work on building new continents meant to replace the drifting islands. They also plan to collect the tanks left on the orbit by the Ship before its departure, because they have reasons to believe there might contain preserved human beings who could join and help their cause.

Once the critical mass is reached again the seaweeds become once again what they used to be, regaining their memories from their human descendent who has been kept living on one of the islands. The title reflects the seaweeds ability to incorporate the personalities of the dead, giving them immortality.

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Written for “Scrie ca sa primesti…o carte”


Vlad P. said...

WOW! You're really fast! Reading and reviewing :D

Weird Vision said...

Well, two of the books I got from the last one free book per review campaign and I'm working on finishing reading the third. The Pandora series I obviously read previous to that.