At the heart of a bizarre planet lay the goal of every being that had ever lived.…
Below average in height and unprepossessing in appearance, Nathan Brazil is an unassuming if cynical starship owner, carrying passengers and cargo for a living - hardly the sort of person to hold the fate of the entire universe in his hands.
But when Nathan detours from his route to answer a distress call, a hidden stargate hurls him and his passengers to the Well World, the master control planet for the cosmos. Billions of years ago, a godlike race unlocked all the secrets of space and time and remade the universe according to their grand design. Then they vanished and left behind the Well World to maintain the pattern of the universe.
Now someone is searching for the planet’s hidden control room - the Well of Souls - to seize control of the cosmos. Nathan must stop them, but this planet causes bizarre metamorphoses in visitors, changing them into centaurs, mermaids, and giant insects seemingly at random. As a result, Nathan no longer recognizes his friends, let alone his unknown enemies. His task seems hopeless - until his long-suppressed memories begin to return and he realizes who he really is.
©1982 Jack L. Chalker (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"A big, bold book that takes traditional science fiction and turns it upside down!" (Leigh Brackett, science fiction author and screenwriter on The Empire Strikes Back)
When I was a teenager this would probably have been exciting. Not up to the standard of Larry Niven, but not bad. But I'm not 14 any more.
The story was hackneyed and the characters and the science were both laughable. Technology has moved on and left this book behind in many areas, in other ways the science is what it should be in SciFi... inexplicable.
In science fiction it is a mistake to try to explain how your science works, because your, most likely dumb, explanations don't bear any scrutiny and that breaks the scientifically inclined reader out of the story. The animal sex and the teenage boy like preoccupation with the sexual organs of anything female were really amusing in a pathetic sort of way. By the way, the bit on the outside is the vulva, the vagina is inside, and it's not a cavity, that's just a bad word for it. Did the author have no experience of anything female?
Anyway, there's a huge and nasty case of deus ex machina at the end, the sort of 'rocks fall, everybody dies' ending that authors despise.
The delivery was pretty wooden, like the reader couldn't believe he was reading this, any more than I could believe I paid money for it.
I read pretty much everything Chalker wrote back in the 80's as a teen, and enjoyed this series then as well. I sort of expected that I would find it more childish or unsophisticated reading it as an adult. I was completely wrong. Still an excellent book, and definitely his best series. Wonderful character development, a highly original plot, and the voice acting and recording quality are excellent as well.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU?
I have found that most of the reviewers that like this, start by saying they read it when they were teenagers. I can see a teenager liking this, especially one new to Sci/Fantasy. They aspect of meeting new creatures such as Cousin Bat, would seem interesting to the novice listener or this could bring back good memories. To the well read in this field this is STAGNATION. The bulk of the book is running around a built world meeting strange creatures, such as human plants, centaurs, batmen, half snake and half walrus, etc... The first few that you meet are interesting and done well by Chalker. I found the human plants and the episode of the twining to be pretty cool. I really liked the Kafka moment of the man turned into a female insect. The problem is that this all gets old and redundant.
Another reviewer remarked that this is science fantasy and I feel that is a perfect description. It started out pretty interesting, with an archeological dig on a unpopulated planet of an extinct race. This starts one of our first Introductions. We also meet some interesting characters. The planet had been run by a brain that was the world itself. I was soaking all of this up. I also enjoyed the space truck driver and the introduction to his world. It all seemed pure Science Fiction. Then they fell into the well and the story went strictly fantasy. At first it seemed even this would be worth listening to, but about five hours in, it becomes monotonous. I hung on for two more hours hoping it would return to the well written story it started as, then Jim the Impatient called it quits.
World of Tiers
This is very similar to Farmers, World of Tiers. It is also reminiscent of Anthony's, Split Infinity. The book is dedicated to Roger Zelzany and his style is evident. You will find most of Chalker's work in the paperback section of you used book store and it seems their is a reason you will not find him in hardback. I have one more of his books on my wish list, hopefully that will be better, as it seems he has lots of talent.
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