Monday, August 23, 2010

Dark Is the Sun

By Philip José Farmer

Deyv, a young savage, is going out into the world to find a woman and make her his wife. That is if their soul eggs are compatible. The soul egg is a large crystalline stone that all people wear. Anyone without one is an outcast, considered no longer human. So Deyv becomes suicidally depressed when his soul egg is stolen one night while he was sleeping. Somehow, with the help of his two intelligent companion animals, a dog and large cat, he pulls himself together and he and the animals set off to track down the thief. Things start to look up when he encounters a beautiful young woman who is on the same quest he is, tracking down the same thief who also stole her soul egg. They are soon joined on the quest by a third victim of the thief but this victim is not human. It is a huge plant man, very old and wise, who can sense the trail of the thief even in places where the two animals cannot.
The setting is an Earth in its last days, some 15 billion years in the future. The universe is coming to an end and all will be destroyed before much longer. As the unlikely trio continues on their quest, it becomes clear that finding their soul eggs is the least of their worries, that the end of time is at hand. But with the help of an old witch woman and of a half snake, half woman-like being from another planet, perhaps a few can be saved if only they can find a doorway into a younger, thriving world.

This was a classic science fiction adventure with encounters with monsters, strange people, peculiar beings and threats to be face and conquered. I really enjoyed the story right up to end, when the author starts killing off some of my favorite characters. Sometimes, when reading a story, it seems as it gets towards the end that the author gets bored with it and wraps it up rather abruptly. Just kind of wham, bam, you're dead, you're out, it's over. This book felt like that at the end. But up to the very end, I enjoyed the book quite a bit, it was exciting and full of weird, wild stuff. Overall, I'd say it was a good read.

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