Copyright 1983 by
I first read this in 1986 and most recently in April 1996.
In the 22nd century, our gentle protagonist, Ale Elatey, studies South
Asian history and keeps spider plants. One day he steps out onto his
balcony and is attacked by an alien pterodactyl. Now this shouldn't
have happened - he'd carefully checked the proximity alarm beforehand, and these devices
don't fail. Then he discovers that his fellow scholars are dying at an
unexpectedly high rate.
This is still such an excellent book. It's got an Earth ruined by global
warming and colonised by aliens. It's got a benign artificial
intelligence controlling a global internet (and this was written in
1983!). It's got domestic teleportation, It's even got a dash of martial
arts. It's just chock full of great ideas.
Between each chapter, headlines list the "Top Ten News Stories of the
Hour". The only two times I have really enjoyed this sort of stuff (rather
than skipping it to get on with the plot) is in this book and John
Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar".
By the way, here's a helpful tip: If you're buying this book, I assume it's best to
pronounce "ORA:CLE" as "Oracle", but of course, this is your choice.
Classic SF. Top notch!
Loaded on the 17th February 2001.