Ivan Cat/Darren Sarvari
The Eyes of Light and Darkness (1996)
Reviewed: 1997-07-06

A millennium in the future, Jayvee (JV9) is humanity's only successful interstellar colony, an Earth-like world in orbit around the glowing proto-star Protector. The twin stars of the system, a white dwarf and a black hole, the Eyes of Light Darkness, shed little additional light and warmth on the planet. In a giant effort by the totalitarian System on Earth, Jayvee was colonized by slow ships carrying the settlers in cryostasis. But cold sleep works unrealiably, many sleepers died, and many of the survivers are insane. The humans of the colony live in symbiosis with Jayvee's natives, the Fuzzies. Superficially humanoid, intelligent but unable to make decisions and to adapt to a changing environment, they were declining until the human settlers arrived.

Walker is a deeply disturbed ex-sleeper who has retreated from society to work in asteroid mining, fleeing from the lingering madness of cold sleep and fragmentary memories of a frightening past on Earth. Elaine Bartlet is a young scientist, a Fuzzie anthropologist, who abhors violence, and whose career has been put to a sudden stop. When the mining station Hephaestus that harvests Protector's ring belts runs into strange artifacts, Bartlet and her team are sent to investigate, joining Walker and his Fuzzie co-pilot Nis. They find an ancient ship drifting in space, with inexplicable damage, and a mysteriously killed crew. Any SF reader knows that the right course of action now is to get out, run head over heels, and nuke the ship. Our heroes of course investigate the wreck and unleash an alien horror.

The Eyes of Light and Darkness is marketed with the tag line "a science fiction thriller". If that is meant to say that it is an action story copying freely from Alien/Aliens, wallowing in horror clichés, it is certainly right. The book has a very movie-like quality to it. It reads like the novelization of a screenplay, maybe it was written with a movie in mind. And the general plausibility level of the action is similar to that of many movies: Protector's ring belts have an absurd density of large rocks, people keep spraying target with automatic weapons never worrying about ammunition until it fits the plot, the metabolic speed required for the remarkable abilities of the monsters is neither explained nor believable, etc. The plot twists are so B movie-like that they border on parody. Questions raised throughout the book remain unanswered in the end, seemingly forgotten in all the carnage. Surprisingly, the portrayal of the alien Fuzzies is one of the stronger points of the book. Altogether an easy read, low-grade entertainment.

Home Page | Review Index | Latest Reviews

Generated: 2009-12-10

Christian "naddy" Weisgerber <naddy@mips.inka.de>