(2004) Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, Warner Aspect, $24.95, hrdbk, 343 pp, ISBN 0-446-52983-4
Servant-of-Unity XIV Samuel Godwin'sson Travers is a devout follower of Cosmic Unity, a seemingly gentle religion preaching tolerance for all life forms. Second Best Sailor is an aquatic alien living on the planet No Moon whose wife, a coral, is telepathic. Smiling Teeth May Bite is a space faring Neanderthal trader. When Cosmic Unity heads for No Moon and it becomes apparent that the religion is intent on converting all inhabitants, the Neanderthal and Second Best embark on a mission to protect the aquatics from the zealots.
Heaven is packed with glamorous aliens, bizarre technology and huge ideas. As one may expect from the reputation of the authors, the science in this fiction is top notch and the story itself propels the reader along with great ease. Whilst the novel excels with inventiveness, the execution is, however, somewhat wooden. This is a real shame as the ideas are so fantastic and deserve much better. Heaven, despite this, is still worthy of a read and I would recommend it if only for the cleverly thought out aliens.
See also Cohen & Stewart's Wheelers.
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