Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Kress: Crossfire - Choosing Sides When You Cannot Choose Peace

The cover reminds us that Nancy Kress is a Hugo and Nebula Award winner, for the brilliant and challenging Beggars in Spain. Like that book, Crossfire explores how people relate to the "other" in their midst.

Initially, we learn about a culturally diverse group who have set out to colonize a new world. Fundamental Moslems, a closely-knit family of well-educated achievers, a tribe of American Indians, a substantial community of Quakers, and a small band of soldiers - and one possibly criminal leader - must find a way to coexist in the new world. Before the humans can really begin this task, they discover aliens - not just one kind, but two. They have made first contact with the two sides in a hot war; and like it or not, they must choose sides or be cut down by the crossfire.

This promises to be the first of a series. (Unfortunately, in my opinion. I had stopped buying Kress' stuff because later novels in the Sleepless cycle failed to come anywhere near the brilliance of Beggars in Spain.) But Crossfire is another intelligent, well-written tale, suitable in and of itself for a lot of thought. And if you're into series, it is also an admirable intro to a new cycle.

The Bookloons review by Hillary Williamson does not give away the story. I can also recommend the brief review by Donna Scanlon of Rambles, who is "known to tell stories whenever she has a captive audience, for which she resorts rarely to duct tape...".

A third reviewer, Elizabeth Carey of NESFA, goes into more detail, at the risk of spoiling some of the surprise.

1 Comments:

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