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Flinx Transcendent
Alan Dean Foster
Del Rey, 403 pages

Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster was born in New York City in 1946 and was raised in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema from UCLA in 1968-69 and then spent two years as a copywriter for an advertising and public relations firm in Studio City, CA.

His first sale as a writer was a long Lovecraftian letter, purchased by August Derleth for the bi-annual magazine The Arkham Collector. His first novel, The Tar-Aiym Krang, was published by Ballantine Books in 1972. Many, many novels followed. Alan Dean Foster's correspondence and manuscripts are in the Special Collection of the Hayden Library of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Foster and his wife live in Prescott, Arizona.

Alan Dean Foster Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Star Trek, The Animated Series: Logs Nine and Ten
SF Site Review: Star Trek, The Animated Series: Logs Seven and Eight
SF Site Review: Star Trek, The Animated Series: Logs Five and Six
SF Site Review: Star Trek, The Animated Series: Logs Three and Four
SF Site Review: Star Trek, The Animated Series: Logs One and Two
SF Site Review: The Light-Years Beneath My Feet
SF Site Review: Sliding Scales
SF Site Review: Flinx's Folly
SF Site Review: The Mocking Program
SF Site Review: Dinotopia Lost
SF Site Review: Star Wars: The Approaching Storm
SF Site Review: Interlopers
SF Site Review: Phylogenesis
SF Site Review: Into the Thinking Kingdoms
SF Site Review: Carnivores of Light and Darkness

Past Feature Reviews
A review by John Enzinas

Flinx Transcendent Flinx Transcendent is the fourteenth and final Pip and Flinx adventure. The copy describes the book as twice as long as any previous book in the series and a major milestone in science fiction publishing. I would have to agree. I can't think of any other way to describe concluding a series that began in 1972.  In addition, there is no arguing that the book is twice as long.

The problem with that length is that it comes from merging together 3 books that are about two-thirds as long as a regular Pip and Flinx adventure.

The first is Flinx's exploration of the home world of the AAnn where Flinx has disguised himself in a special costume and is pretending to be an AAnn. He's there as a result of learning that for some reason he is the only one capable of saving the galaxy. After encountering nice AAnns, he decides to not let the galaxy be destroyed by evil just because he had a crappy childhood and a couple of bad break-ups.

Section two is about how Flinx and his friends from previous books stop a terrorist cell who are in favour of the galaxy being destroyed by evil (perhaps because of even worse childhoods and break-ups). I would have expected a group of nihilists to be a bit more lethal in their methods but that does tend to be a little harder for the hero to escape.

Finally, in the final section the merry band of adventurers head off to try and find a super weapon capable of stopping the evil. In this section is the one thing that really put me off this book. Flinx heartlessly goads his girlfriend with both words and his empathic abilities into trying to kill him in order to test one more option against the evil. It was out of character and senseless and just the sort of act for which he would have condemned all of the intelligent life in the galaxy for only two acts earlier.

I read the first few Pip and Flinx books sometime in the 80s and every so often I would pick one up just to see where things were. They were quick and fun reads but somewhere in the last decade they lost the heart that gave Flinx life and made him more than the whiny selfish man-child that he is in this book. It's worth reading if you want to know how it all turns out, but otherwise try a series and a character who aren't carrying around so much baggage.

Copyright © 2009 John Enzinas

John Enzinas reads frequently and passionately. In his spare time he plays with swords.

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