Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Eight Keys to Eden

Eight Keys to Eden, Mark Clifton, Doubleday, 1960

The human colony on the planet Eden is well established. Many pictures are sent back to Earth of houses, plowed fields and a hangar for their ship. Eden has missed their regularly scheduled check-in with Earth. Is their equipment broken? Is there a space disturbance between Earth and Eden? Are the colonists being inconsiderate jerks and deciding not to call Earth? A ship, with Junior E Calvin Gray on board, is sent to investigate.

The Extrapolators (E for short) are Earth's intellectual supermen. After a rigorous process of being taught the "right" way to think, and much testing, when a person becomes an E, they cannot be charged with any crime. It is also illegal to interrupt an E when he is thinking or talking.

The ship reaches the planet, and finds the spot where the colony is supposed to be. There is no sign of a colony at all. The only thing the ship finds is a bunch of naked colonists aimlessly wandering around. The ship lands, and disappears. Gray and his three-man crew are sprawled on the ground, naked. The leader of the colonists reports that everything just vanished, including their clothes, a couple of days previously. What is worse is that the colonists are finding it increasingly hard to care about their plight, like they are reverting to the level of animals.

Several other ships are in orbit, wanting to see for themselves just what is happening. Among them is a ship from the Attorney General's office. They really do not like the E program, and would love to dish out some public humiliation. Worldwide photos of nudist colonist, and a naked E, doing heaven-knows-what, would certainly qualify. A transparent, but impenetrable, barrier has enclosed the planet, preventing any further landings.

Gray begins to get an inkling of an intelligence at work. Maybe this intelligence never evolved to the point of using tools, so it took away the human tools to level the playing field. Can Gray communicate with it? Can he restore the colony to the way it was?

This one is pretty good. It's a well-written, and pretty "quiet" book (remember when it was published) about a new kind of intelligence. If you can find a copy, then, yes, it is worth reading.

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