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The Warriors of Dawn First of all Pay No Attention to the #1 in this title This is the second book of the series It takes place a very long time after The Gamplayers of Zan and if you haven't read Gameplayers then you will not appreciate this book's references to the past nor will you have anywhere near as good an understanding of Ler cultureThis is a difficult book to rate because it is so uneven The overall uality of the prose itself is very good but the plot progresses in fits and starts About midway through I was ready to put it down out of sheet boredom Too much time was spent with characters moving from one place to another with lots of descriptions about the environment but not much else going on The characters are engaging but not particularly deep Worst of all Foster spent far too much time telling instead of showing and some of the biggest victories were the result of very big intuitive leaps Not impossible ones but still big and conveyed with lots of 'telling'In the end the story was worth reading but it is far inferior to The Gameplayers of Zan in virtually every way In the far future humans and near human artificially created people called ler have colonized a corner of the galaxy Mostly they stay apart though in a few cases they have worked together But reports have come in of an attack by unknown raiders on the jointly colonized planet of Chalcedon Han a young human trader and pilot and Liszendir a ler woman with extreme hand to hand combat skills are sent to investigate What results is a series of escapes and adventures including a harrowing trek across the planet Dawn home of the raiders In the process they discover a much deeper plot hiding behind the surface Foster has been compared to Jack Vance and there are similarities The ker are a remarkably well drawn and intricate society who form complicated family braids Likewise the various humans that are bred and keep as pets or slaves by the warriors have a Vance like feel Yet Foster has his own voice; his prose doesn't have the sparkle or the somewhat ironic undertone that Vance often employed Instead he delves deeply into his characters and in fact as the book progresses it's the relationships between those characters that most drive the book forward This is the first of a series one that shows promise Foster appears to have written half a dozen books or so then stopped If the others are as good as this one that's a shame It's summertime Time to give the brain a rest and dive into some juicy escapist fiction The Book of the Ler is the first of two unrelated science fiction trilogies by Mark Foster and one that I picked up from the library by accident See I was looking for its successor The Transformer Trilogy the first book of which The Morphodite I remember reading and liking as a rip roaring chase thriller some 40 odd years ago mistakenly thinking it to be an original work of Alan Dean Foster and without realizing or discovering that there were two books to follow So mistake upon mistake which at long last has now helped me to remedyIn reading this review it's worth noting that The Book of the Ler is thus fighting disappointment confusion and nostalgia a pretty toxic mixture to take on at an investment of 923 pages Still Foster isn't helping himself by the way he assembled this The author's first work was The Warriors of Dawn Book 2 of the trilogy set a story which sort of presaged the Enemy Mine survival tale of mistrustful alien enemies in time of war forced to begrudgingly cooperate a genetically modified human Ler taking the role of the Louis Gossett Jr lizard creature There's and less going on including a sociological investigation of a Ler faction that has rejected noble savage pacifism for piratical barbarism but you have the gist As Foster's first tango with Ler he has to fall back on a good deal of exposition and this he does via the perspective of human interlopers who thus serve as audience surrogates to contrast the protagonist peaceable Ler against the belligerent faction of Ler Well one does what one mustAt some point Foster must have been convinced that he had something here and he set out to write a preuel This is the ambitious and hefty Gameplayers of Zan a work which opens and consumes fully half the length of the entire trilogy and the one which now introduces readers to the Ler world In Zan Foster tackles the events which trigger the Ler's escape from Earth to colonize distant planets in the process digging deeply into 500 years of Ler evolution and cultural development to say nothing of latter day human sociology There's Dune scale world building potential here As it happens Foster's style is a tad dry and meandering but set these deficiencies along with some male gaze issues aside Let's see how Foster executesThe author starts with real promise inside the head of a Ler juvenile who we come to realize a has been captured and b placed in a sensory deprivation tank This is a great curtain raiser in that it spurs immediate uestions What is a Ler Is there significance to Ler gender andor age Who is this captured Ler girl Who has captured her What was she doing when she was captured Where was she captured Why was she captured What if anything does the place of her confinement signifyFoster goes from tweaking to piuing my curiosity at pages 24 25 a long time to spend in sensory deprivation meandering remember She had always had all along one escape But it was a drastic irrevocable one With total recall the ler mind had by compensation also gained the ability to trueforget erase data remove it The one balanced the other It was something rather than forgetting in the old sense as the forerunners referred to it That in truth was merely mislaying data But autoforgetting was erasure It was easy and simple to start the process one knew instinctively how to to do that Stopping it was only for the experienced and the learned enormously difficult And so for her it could be only everything or nothing one simply picked some point in any valid memory and undid the image like picking a thread out of a weave it then unraveled And then the ego the persona would be gone vanished as if it had never been save for the existential traces left behind on the lives of others the ego would be gone Afterward her human interrogators would return and discover that all they had was an infant in a twenty year old's body pages 24 5 The author has now posited a Twilight Zone level premise to a reader whose information about this universe has to this point been limited to a girl in the black box What does it mean to be a blank a forgetty to have one's persona rebuilt from scratch What sort of culture emerges around creatures with this and other alien capabilities How might that culture interact or co evolve alongside humanityOkay now we're talking Except we're not The opener turns out to be a fake out it's sole purpose to establish the hostility of humans toward Ler It will be another lengthy chapter or before a setting is properly sketched in Oh sure there's much on the lives and lifestyles of the Ler the author rather clumsily uses a Ler reservation visitor's center docent to deliver this exposition but the crucial pivot to storytelling namely a protagonist or point of view has yet to arrive Uh Foster I'm starting to get boredAt last we learn that here at the borderlands humans exist in an overpopulated paranoid urban Malthusian fascist 1984 style regime alongside a Ler wilderness preserve roughly the location of western Europe New uestions spring to mind a bit less interesting given the information vacuum that remains of Ler biology society and political structure What has brought humanity to this circumstance How localized or widespread is this structure Is history significant to the story Does the author's juxaposition of Ler and humanity have a thematic purposeNow backstory for our character sheets It seems that the Ler were the unintended result of failed superhuman bioengineering experimentation that the humans then tried without success to eradicate The details of this are hazy suffice it to say that the Ler have been left to their own devices for six or generations now and it's presumably only a matter of time before humanity re presses its genocidal intent This political conflict will be the engine to drive Zan's story forwardShould I be rooting for the Ler the humans for peace via deescalation or simply for resolution I don't know and I still lack a principal point of view character to lead my investigation Perhaps the Ler docent At this point Foster's universe and his story are leaving me cold but I'm sticking with it in hopes that the author purports some insightful analogy or commentary that pays off all the shenanigans and lugubrious backstory Alas not to be After 400 pages of investment a key Ler cast member turns out to be a psychotic a plot twist which forces me to set aside all the author's rules and worldbuilding simply so Foster can write himself out of a corner Will the subseuent books in the trilogy pick up where Zan leaves off We already know they won't Why botherAh well I have still some summertime left and the other Mark Foster trilogy on my nightstand Crossing fingers that I find better luck with that Amusing sci fi that started so well It turned into a stark and detailed journey to an alien world The villians are well drawn out and the plot is somewhat interesting The personal relationships could have been a hair sharper but I saw very few typos or other such problems This book is just in the okay pile I like to be wowed or inspired Science fiction just does not inspire me very often This story just lacks the indefinable spark that sets me on fire Perhaps it will light the torch for someone else This book is on its way to my wife's work to find a new home One word alien Here's a sci fi book written by a scientist an astronomer so many of the elements of physics and space while not explored in any great detail have an interesting feel this guy talks about space in a very simple straight forward every day manner He doesn't belabor the subjectThe story was a little slow for me although character development was smooth Conventions were faultless The human race had divided into two species One had created the other normal humans had experimented in forced evolution and had produced the ler a sort of supermen race but pacifistic and contemplative The ler fled from the turbulent worlds of homo sapiens and established their own uiet planetary colonies Which made it all the inexplicable when reports came in of fierce planetary marauders looting and burning who were of ler ancestry The existence of barbarian lers was a contradiction in terms And the search for their reasons for existence was to take a human male and a ler female into an expedition into strange worlds and the unsuspected bypasses of all the systems of science and philosophy Really didn't hold my interest I think part of the problem was the writing style which came across to me as choppy and disconnected and part of it was that I just didn't find his ler as compelling as the author seemed to About the most interesting thing was Usteyn's story block which I thought was a really cool idea and would have liked to see of also the ending was effective at creating a sense of completeness Still I don't see myself rereading this any time soon 1986 grade A 2015 grade A BSeries book L1 This is a very good book The characters and story are complex and detailed and have a lot of growth and depth The pace includes both slow and fast areas with action and detail But it is also a long a difficult read which I had to do in segments There are several slow long journeys and past the first 100 or so pages many of the paragraphs are long data dumps or dialog based lectures I had difficulty speed reading these via skimming and finally ended up reading the opening sentences and skipping to the next paragraph That seemed to work just fine since there were not problems with continuity In summary I like it very much and hope to read it a third time some day Maybe I can find book two of the series which I have not read I got about 60% through this first of the series anticipating that I would read all of themUnfortunately I just could not get into it There were some interesting ideas but when it gets to the point where I am reading words only to drudge through them and you are 1t 60% it is time to put the book downPerhaps I will make another go at it but for now I could not give this a good recommendation

  • Paperback
  • 0 pages
  • The Warriors of Dawn
  • M.A. Foster
  • English
  • 09 July 2015
  • 9780879975739

About the Author: M.A. Foster

Librarian noteThere is than one author in the GoodReads database with this nameUS writer former data systems analyst and seuentially a Russian linguist and ICBM launch crew commander to the US Air Force; he is also a semiprofessional photographer After some poetry released privately as Shards from Byzantium coll 1969 chap and The Vaseline Dreams of Hundifer Jones coll 1970 chap he b