Eric Frank Russell: Sentinels From Space. A jpoc book review.


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JPOC Rating

Five out of ten.

Not his best novel..

My review

Originally published in 1954, "Sentinels From Space" is set in a future in which men have established successful colonies on Mars and Venus and further expansion is in prospect. Assorted powers such as telepathy and telekinesis have appeared as mutations arising from space travel. Society starts to polarise between Earth dwellers and the colonists on the new worlds. Also, between the different groups of mutants and the normal people.

A tiny group, whose existence is unsuspected by the other groups has powers of its own and wants to smooth over the tensions. Who are they? What are their motives and why are they so concerned about the even more mysterious Denebians?

It's an interesting setting for a novel and the narrative glides along in the normal fluid style of Russell but, compared with his other stories, there is something lacking. If you have read Wasp and Three to Conquer by the same author, you will realise that what is lacking is wit. Not jokes but just a general feeling of levity. This novel is taking itself just a little too seriously.

I must say, if you are new to Russell, then "Three to Conquer" and "Wasp" are much better introduction to his talents.