Alan Dean Foster, Strange Music (Del Rey 978-1-101-96760-7, $27.00, 269pp, hc) November 2017.
Pip and Flinx are back on a new adventure, the 15th novel in the series, part of Foster’s overall Humanx Commonwealth universe. Flinx is living quietly on the waterworld of Cachalot when he gets a visit from an old friend who asks him to go to the planet Largess, where a rogue human is not only violating Commonwealth laws restricting advanced technology, but is also helping stop the formation of a united government to get an upgraded status with the Commonwealth. Flinx, clearly bored with his idyllic life, agrees to help and heads off with the flying minidrag Pip to Largess, with its somewhat seal-like, semi-aquatic natives, an emotional bunch who communicate through sing-speech, with an interesting side effect for the empathic Flinx. Meanwhile, the bad guy has kidnapped a native princess, an engagingly feisty and loudmouthed female. Most of the novel is taken up with Flinx’s travels and banter with his native guide as they track the bad guys, and it’s the oddities of this damp world that provide the major interest. Once he finally catches up with the bad guys, the resolution is a bit too easy to be convincing. As Flinx’s adventures go, this felt trivial, like a nostalgic visit with old friends, but it definitely has its entertaining moments.
Carolyn F. Cushman, Senior Editor, has worked for Locus since 1985, the longest of any of the current staff, and handles our in-house books database, writes our New and Notable section, and does the monthly Books Received column. She is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in English. She published a fantasy novel, Witch and Wombat, in 1994.
This review and more like it in the November 2017 issue of Locus.