Sunday, 12 May 2013
Book Review: The Abulon Dance by Caro Soles
by Caro Soles
While on tour to the mysterious planet Abulon, the pleasure-loving hermaphrodites of the Merculian National Dance Company are intrigued by the virile patriarchal society they discover there. The natives seem friendly enough, but when the star’s young lover is kidnapped, the Merculians find themselves plunged into an alien civil war that they are ill-equipped to survive.
This is how sci-fi should be, an interesting blend of strange worlds and customs, exotic aliens and culture clashes.
The hermaphrodite/intersex Merculian dance troupe is on its first visit to the mysterious planet of Abulon, the first off-worlders to ever visit. Neither male nor female, the Merculians feel decidedly out of place amongst the patriarchal society of Abulon. A society ruled over by a Great Chief, a hunter, another thing they don't have in common, as the Merculians do not eat meat.
Triani is the star dancer and his lover, Cham, is excited to be involved in such an adventure, never having been to a different planet before. Excitement soon turns to horror, when Cham is kidnapped, ostensibly by rebels in the hills, but the truth is far more intriguing than that. Why does the Great Chief not want the rebels to be heard? What has he got to hide? His son, Luan, decides to help the Muerculians get Cham back, but he risks being called a traitor for his actions. And the Abulonians don't take too kindly to traitors...
A well written novel, full of sexual and political intrigue, it grips from the very first page and is difficult to put down. It's a sweeping adventure, one very easy to get lost in, with a dpeth of character sometimes lacking in sci-fi novels. Sometimes the characters get left behind in place of lots of techno-jargon, not so here. Here the characters are centre stage, as much as Triani is the centre of the dance troupe and anything techincal only adds to the story, not detract from it. The dance scenes were exquisitely described and everything had a very sensual feel. I loved it.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby
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