Friday, 14 April 2000
Julian May: The Perseus Spur (1998)
Review number: 481
Compared to the imaginative Galactic Milieu framework which ties together May's earlier novels, the background to The Perseus Spur is unambitious. The novel itself is accessible and enjoyable, and is basically an undemanding thriller with a science fiction setting.
The major powers in this book, the first in a series, are not governments but immense corporations, the Hundred Concerns. Even companies which are not considered important enough to become Concerns control hundreds of planets; one of these is to a large extent run by the Frost family. The central character of The Perseus Spur is Asahel Frost, who was disinherited when he chose to become an investigator for one of the few governmental organisations still in existence and who is now living life as a diving tour operator on a Caribbean style world (whose wildlife is mainly named after creatures from Jabberwocky) after being framed for corruption when his work threatened the plans of one of the Concerns.
Yet, even with his total lack of power, he still becomes the victim of a series of murder attempts which also lead to him uncovering a secret which could destroy a group of Concerns - his only problem in using it is lack of proof.
As science fiction, The Perseus Spur is old fashioned, and could mostly have been written in the fifties. I was particularly reminded of Asimov's The Stars Like Dust. It was probably fun to write, and it is certainly fun to read, but not innovative or ground breaking.