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Book Note: David R. Palmer, Emergence

I read this book about 10-Feb-2004. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1984. This note was last modified Wednesday, 22-May-2019 21:27:28 PDT.

This is book 1 of the "Emergence" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Kind of a piece of history. Palmer appeared with this book, which got a very excited response. His second book Threshold was pretty widely thought to have few redeeming features. It was supposed to be the start of a series, but the second book of it never appeared. This is the "one-book wonder" pattern, perhaps most famously associated with Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind. One never really knows why, either; did the author only have one idea? Did the success of the first make them scared to try again? Did writing pay so poorly they gave it up? Or what? (I'm amused to note that Amazon is showing it at 4.5 stars; shows what they know.) I may have to reread Threshold just to get notes on it here.

Meanwhile, back to this one.

This has much of the feel of the Henlein juveniles. It has a protagonist the right age. She's a genius (far more so than any of Heinlein's that I remember). She's physically skillful too (like 6th degree black belt in Karate, at age 11). She's in an unusual family, with government connections. She leaves her family and becomes adult in the course of the book. She's a smart-ass. It's told in the first person.

I still think she's stupid not to spend more time on firearms. Hand-to-hand is all very well as a fallback, and good exercise, but it's bad tactics to bring a fist to a gun fight.

The plot starts with the near-extinction of the human species, and goes on from there. Looks like all the surviving humans are bad guys, in fact. They planned it that way. And they planned to exterminate the new species, and destroy the world if they can't manage just the new species. Seems kinda dog-in-the-manger to me, but that's their plan. They almost manage, too. Come really close.

I still find it really cool.

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David Dyer-Bennet