Once upon a time, I loved Anne McCaffrey's books. I just looked
through a bibliography online, and was certain that I had read at
least 25 of the books listed. Some I even still like, though that may
be only because it has been a long time since I read them, and so
remember them through a haze of good feeling and innocence.
Such was the case with my memories of "To Ride Pegasus" and "Pegasus
in Flight"---I had fond memories from long ago, and they led me to
read "Pegasus in Space." I was sorry to do so.
Now, for those of you who may love Ms. McCaffrey's books, you can tune
out right now, pretend I've never said anything, and go back to
reading them. She is, after all, nothing if not consistent, and you
won't be dissatisfied any time soon. Lord knows it took me long
Somewhere along the way, though, I realized that Ms. McCaffrey has
only five characters in her books:
* Good Male is heroically confident, never unethical (except when the
Evil people deserve it) and possessed of great skill and talent.
* Good Female is naively unaware of her world-shakingly unique
talents, and must be coaxed by a Good Male into admitting that she
is the most wonderful thing on two legs and also a sex goddess.
* Evil Male is unrepentingly evil, delights in cruelty and torture,
and is generally into everything bad. Puppies will be kicked.
* Evil Female is selfishly sex-crazed and will abandon her
responsibilities at the drop of a hat to go chasing tail. May
engage in cat-fights to demonstrate her pettiness.
* NPCs are a pale shadow of their master (Good or Evil), and live only
to serve and stroke the master's ego.
You can't say that Ms. McCaffrey hasn't evolved, though. In "Pegasus
in Space," several of the characters swap gender roles: Barchenka is
an Evil Male, Peter is a Good Female, and the secret hidden bad-guy is
a Bad Female.
That's about it for progress, though. All the badness in the book
ties together into one squirming hairball of spidering improbability.
Ick. The psychic Talents are all, without exception, Good, and so
above normal humanity that a mere code of ethics is enough to ensure
that they never abuse their psychic powers except when they really
want to but that's actually not really unethical anyway because they
only do it to Evil people. Ick.
She's just so... so... aristocratic? determinist? fascist? I don't
know what the word I'm looking for is, but it's something along those
lines: some people are inherently better than others and the others
should just submit to it.
The book also suffers in its later stages from being constrained to
set up the universe for "The Rowan." There's no particular reason for
Peter to start thinking about Callisto, except that Callisto features
in "The Rowan" and he needs to end up there by the end of the book.
But that, at least, I can forgive.
All told, there is simply nothing remarkable about this book. If you
like McCaffrey's books, please ignore everything I've said so far as a
clearly biased rant. It's been brewing for quite a while though, and
I'm glad to finally get it off my chest. Normal programming will now