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Black Star Rising by Frederik Pohl

Black Star Rising (1985)

by Frederik Pohl

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461222,528 (3.17)2



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Not up to Pohl's literary standard, but representative of his cynical humor. The sci-fi space tech is window-dressing for social commentary about patriotism, jingoism, stereotypes, and unintended consequences. Nothing particularly memorable in the story, in terms of characters or plot. Vehicle for Pohl's anti-war views? (I don't know anything about his personal twitches.)
Part of the Cold War "if this goes on" trope, of the apocalyptic strain, written only a few years before the Berlin Wall fell. (Red China is still around, and perfectly capable of the role it plays in Pohl's book.)
Did any of our sf writers ever pursue a "what if this doesn't go on?" approach to the Cold War and nuclear stand-off, or foresee the fall of the USSR? Certainly none of the paid experts ventured that prediction.
Money Quote, p. 170: "I propose that we consider the possibility that we have underestimated these erks. They are quite comic little creatures, to be sure. But they are not entirely ludicrous."
"Of course they're ludicruss..They're not even human."
"I think that is an incorrect view..They are all too human..Are they silly clowns, so foolish and inept that no one can take them seriously? No. They are too powerful for that. Are they so wicked that anyone would recoil from them? No. To speak of helping the oppressed become free is not wicked...they are not so unlike human beings as one might suspect. The erks are very like certain world powers of a hundred years ago. They have elevated slogans to the point of dogma in doing so, they have lost sight of the principles that made the slogans valid in the first place...they spoke, the one of "freedom" and the other of "equality," so loudly that neither could hear the rightness in what the other said."

*saw this in current events, 2014-03 (Russia & Ukraine crisis)
Russia and China decide to work together and make a deal. Russia gets Europe and China gets the US when the war is over. Then the two remaining big boys on the block live with an uneasy truce… for as long as they can.

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 9:13 AM, HotAir.com "Western nations..." ( )
  librisissimo | Feb 27, 2014 |
In a post-apocalyptic world in which the USA and USSR unleashed their nuclear arsenals at one another with devastating effect, Castor is a young man without a future. He is stuck on a Chinese-run grain collective near Biloxi, Mississippi and his entire life is already laid out for him - living, working and dying on the farm. Then, one day, as he's plying his trade in the rice paddy, he finds a severed human head. And his whole life changes.

An odd book. A very quick read with some interesting ideas - adding personalities to a person's being; a race of devoted mercenaries; a colony of space travelers breeding like rabbits, living in nests with a several hundred to 1 female to male ratio... But at the end of the day, just too weird... ( )
  helver | Dec 1, 2013 |
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