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Freedom's Landing
Part one of the science fiction quartet by Anne Mc Caffrey, set in a future where humanity has been enslaved by an alien empire. The plot in brief: a bunch of dissidents, including our main characters, are dropped off on an uninhabited planet to colonise it. However, settling into their new home, they find that something else has already staked a claim on it. There’s also a rather irritating romance, between human protagonist Kris and one of the alien overlords, Zainal.

One of the worst problems I had with this book is the lack of subtlety, in characters particularly. If you’re a man, you’re either a hardworking, tolerant, non-sexist nice-guy, or you’re a pathetic, cowardly, lazy sexual harasser. There is no middle ground.

I didn’t like either of the main characters. Kris annoyed the hell out of me. She’s a tall tanned blonde with big boobs, and she knows survival skills and karate, and all the men immediately admire and respect her, except for all the bad ones who only want to get into her pants. Except wait, all the good ones want that too. And for all Kris’ assertions about how noble and caring and whatever Zainal is, I just didn’t buy it. I haven’t seen him do anything particularly noble.

The romance plot was visible from kilometres off. I later read on this wiki that the book was based on an earlier pornographic short story. This explains a lot, to my mind.

Then there’s the ridiculously human alien race. I know lots of Sci Fi has this problem, but Freedom’s Landing takes it a bit far, and it doesn’t even have the excuse of special effects limitations. The Catteni are just heavyset humans with grey skin. Although they’re all humanoid, the other races featured suffer from this much less, which makes me wonder if the only reason is so Kris and Zainal can get it on. See above.

To sum up, there were many things which irritated me about this book. Yet despite them, I enjoyed reading it. It was absorbing enough to while away the hours on public transport with, and that’s all I really ask of most books. So if you see it, by all means read it if you want - just be prepared to cringe occasionally.

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