NESFA Members' Reviews

The Rampart Worlds

by Julian May

Book reviews by Mark L. Olson


1: Perseus Spur, HarperCollins Voyager, 1998, 310 pp, $16.99
2: Orion Arm, Del Rey, 1999, 378 pp, $6.99

This is fine space opera, but it rises no further, and is a disappointment coming after May's excellent Pliocene Exile and Galactic Milieu books.

The books are set about 200 years from now when humanity is spread across the stars and is dominated by The Hundred Concerns, huge companies which control everything, including the government. (The government seems to be some sort of vaguely sanitized fascism with the Hundred Concerns legally being part of the government.) Rampart Starcorp is in the next tier of companies and is bucking for the big leagues. Its interests in the Perseus Spur (a nearby arm of the Milky Way) are envied by Galapharm, one of the Hundred Concerns.

Asa Frost, estranged son of one of the founders of Rampart, is a beach bum on a dead-end world when a giant snail eats his house, and narrowly misses eating and killing him, as well. Asa learns that this was no accident and is pulled back into the intrigues among the Concerns.

There is considerable toing and froing, blasters blast and FTL spaceships swoosh and plotters plot and a good time is had by all -- I won't bother detailing the plot since it doesn't matter a whole lot.

It's good fun, there are some interesting places depicted as well as an entirely implausible human society and the good guys win in the end.

Both books were fun to read.

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