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Silent Thunder / Universe (Tor Doubles) by…
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Silent Thunder / Universe (Tor Doubles) (edition 1991)

by Dean Ing, Robert A. Heinlein

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481242,697 (3.92)1
Member:RandyStafford
Title:Silent Thunder / Universe (Tor Doubles)
Authors:Dean Ing
Other authors:Robert A. Heinlein
Info:Tor Books (1991), Edition: 1st, Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:science fiction

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Silent Thunder/Universe by Dean Ing

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My reactions to reading these two novellas in 1992. Spoilers follow.

“Silent Thunder”, Dean Ing -- I liked this techno-thriller by Ing. It works mainly because Ing knows the cliches of the thriller story and knows his readers are aware of them too. We know Pam Garza is President Harry Rand’s ex-lover and Walter Kalvin’s toadie, and Ing doesn’t try to futily fool us. We know that Laurie Ramsay is going to get kidnapped, so that plot turn is done early. Again, Ing doesn’t try to fool us. But Ing does tell a fast-paced, exciting story. The sf element, the Donnersprache, is an interesting device, and I wonder how much reality there is in the background details of German research into electronic and psychoacoustics. Spider Robinson once said Ing wrote moral fiction and that’s true. Here Ing uses the Donnersprache to get in a few truthful observations on the maniputablity of democratic populaces and how not everyone has the right to his opinion if it’s founded on emotion and not fact. (Interestingly, Ing never gets into an obvious application of the Donnersprache. If it can electroincally enhance the credibility of someone’s voice, why couldn’t the same techniques be used to create a very negative impression of a speaker? Perhaps this is what Kalvin does when Rand deviates from the former’s scripts. ) The violent way in which Laurie escapes her captor was surprising, and Ing’s way of showing the error of her former non-violenct stance (a stance fostered by her mother). A child forced into violence to survive is something of an Ing theme as witnessed in his Quantrill books. I liked Ramsay being able to forgive dupe Garza and marry her and how traitor Terrence Unruh tries to kill Kalvin. Ing makes a nice point that a man may sell out for personal reasons (Unruh wants money for his family after he dies) but be unwilling to totally sell out his country. This statement has a counterpoint to Ramsay not saying anything until his daughter is safe. And Rand is furious at being unwittingly manipulated and used by Kalvin. He may be a dopy, repressive preacher, but he’s got integrity that helps save the day. But the very best thing about the story is that America is saved from fascism by a conspiracy of moderate-minded Masons -- who assure a cabinet member that their handshake and promise has been good enough for centuries. It’s nice to see this much maligned group (the villains of many a fictional and alleged conspiracy) being the heroes.

“Universe”, Robert A. Heinlein -- A true classic. I liked the medievalism of the society in the spaceship: a religious based hierarchy with our hero being hauled up for trial about his views of the nature of the ship and world outside a lá Galileo, storytellers with amazing memories who serve as judges too, and an easy acceptance of slavery under the muties. I also liked mutant Jim-Joes who seems a curious Heinlein character: a learned man with little ambition (but capable of decisiveness). I liked him (them?) unable to realize the difference between fact and fiction in what he (they?) read. ( )
  RandyStafford | Dec 14, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dean Ingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heinlein, Robert A.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
DeVito, JoeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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