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Download Second Nature (Orion) epub

by Cherry Wilder

1st trade edition paperback, fine In stock shipped from our UK warehouse
Download Second Nature (Orion) epub
ISBN: 0048233587
ISBN13: 978-0048233585
Category: Literature
Subcategory: British & Irish
Author: Cherry Wilder
Language: English
Publisher: Unwin; paperback / softback edition (1986)
Pages: 256 pages
ePUB size: 1239 kb
FB2 size: 1301 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 431
Other Formats: txt lit lrf mbr

On an unnamed planet near the star Delta Pavonis, the descendents of a Federation starship that crash-landed nearly 3 centuries ago have created a society centered on agriculture and fishing. Steam power represents the most advanced form of technology, but the people hope that some day another starship will chance upon their planet and bring them into alliance with the Federation.

Maxim Bro is a `dator', or glorified notary public, in the main city of Rhomary. When his uncle Urbain gets word that people in the hinterlands have witnessed the passage of what appear to be `meteors' across the night skies, it seems that yet another hapless starship has encountered difficulties in its transit by Delta Pavonis. Bro eagerly travels to the town of Gann Station, located near the Western Sea, where a sea captain has recovered what appears to be a fragment of a starship.

But the possible advent of contact with the Federation invokes feelings of alarm among some residents, particularly those adhering to a messianic religious cult, and if there are any survivors of a crash, they may not get an entirely felicitous welcome....

`Second Nature' represents an ambitious, but ultimately unsuccessful, melding of SF and fantasy by author Wilder. Her prose style is often ornate, as might be expected of a fantasy novel, and the society of the transplanted Terrans is heavily infused with a complex psychology that has come to regard the idea of a galactic civilization as a legend.

Unfortunately, many of the main features of the narrative are disclosed to the reader in an elliptical manner, leaving he or she to try and infer what is taking place from obliquely written descriptive passages and dialogue. I found myself barraged with too many invented proper nouns accompanied by too little exposition; much of the main narrative accordingly unfolded in a confusing manner.

Sub-plots dealing with a trio of aristocrats who may not be what they appear, and a quasi-religious longing for contact with a race of large aquatic creatures (the `Vail') who migrated away from the human settlements decades ago, are woven into the storyline but really fail to impart much momentum to the narrative. I finished the book with the feeling that, had the author decided to place more emphasis on the travails of the crashed starship crew, the novel would have been much more engaging.

I suspect SF fans will probably find `Second Nature' too slow-moving and devoid of inherent drama to be very appealing. I also suspect that readers seeking an offbeat sort of fantasy novel will find that in 'Second Nature' the fantasy elements are too understated to be very rewarding.
I read this when it was first published and it's one of those books to which I have returned on several occasions since, as it bears up well to multiple readings and elapsed decades and there's something about it that stays in your memory. There are one or two moments of clunky dialogue, but the characters are engaging and believable, the plot really is interesting and the author shows great facility in creating a sense of place. Her alien world is every bit as palpable as Pern, Meetpoint or the docks of Kefk and she has a phenomenal gift for conjuring up new and memorable names. This book deserves a new release. As usual, ignore the squid muppet on the Pocket edition cover image: No squids.
Humans descended from an emergency landing on a planet of Delta Pavonis and out of contact with humanity ever since are transfixed by the crash of another human ship 250 years later. This is great stuff. Wilder (a pseudonym for Cherry Barbara Grimm) is a fine writer, almost poetic at times, and does an excellent job of characterization, development of believable aliens, and plotting. I was reminded of the Hugo-award-winning author C. J. Cherryh, so much so that I thought this was a book by her (it's not--her real name is Caroline Cherry). A nice surprise from an author I had not heard of, but will definitely search for in the future.