Friday, December 9, 2016

Piers Anthony's Sos the Rope (Planet Stories # 25)

Rather ridiculous!  The premise here is that in a post-apocalyptic (nuclear blast) society, three groups of people exist: the "crazies" who live in settlements and distribute food, health care, and weapons; the hidden "Heliconians" who live in highly-advanced, secret refuges and produce everything that the crazies distribute; and the "nomads", wandering warriors who challenge each other to fights in a "battle circle" in order to win the right to have a particular name or status.  Sos, the main character, is a nomad with the intelligence of a crazy, and he gets involved in setting up another nomad, Sol, as the leader of a tribe of warriors that is growing so strong it threatens to upset the balance between the three groups of people.  So Sos is extorted by the Heliconians to depose Sol, and blah blah blah.  It feels a bit inane even to type it out.  The politics are unconvincing, the gender issues are highly problematic, and one comes away feeling like it's all just . . . dumb!  The action scenes are well-drawn, and to be fair the main character goes through several moral dilemmas about what to do; but his inner psychology is ultimately unconvincing.  Apparently, this was the first of a "Battle Circle" trilogy.  The introduction to the Planet Stories edition makes it sound like this was Shakespeare--trust me, it's not.

No comments: