Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Colors of Space by Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley (June 3, 1930 – September 25, 1999)

The Colors of Space
The Colors of Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Colors of Space by Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley (June 3, 1930 – September 25, 1999)
The Colors of Space

The Colors of Space

I remember reading this a long time ago. Many times. Some time after the 1963 edition was published. I decided to read it again and see if it still stood well against time.

Bart Steele is a young Vegan who has come to Earth to study at the academy. He's a product of a human and Mentorian pair, although he lost his mother, the Mentorian, early in his life. His father, a Terran, owns a space shipping business that struggles as it must against the monopoly that the Lhari race has over interstellar flight. The Lhari have made it clear that only Lhari can survive while the warp-drive is active and that all other races must go into cold-sleep.

This monopoly causes Bart and many others to have a prejudice against the Lhari.

Upon graduation Bart is to meet his father at the Lhari spaceport where he will leave Earth and return home. But Bart will never see his father again and will be catapulted into a universe of danger and intrigue. He discovers his father and several others have died while trying to obtain the secrets of the Lhari and of the warp-drive. Bart is thrust into his father's world while he's become a fugitive from Lhari authorities.

An important plot point is that the Lhari are not able to perceive colors the way humans and Mentorians do; and this becomes a major plot device or I should say part of several plot devices. This is the only part that my more mature insight has quibbles about during this read. There are some big things that are hinged on this color disability that might not work quite as well as I once believed. One major one is that the Lhari could not tell something was red hot because they couldn't see the red. Since often survival hinges on such things there would likely have been another way for them to discern that a surface they were working on, in their ship, might be hot.

Most everything else in the story seems to stand the test of time and still seems to work quite well to move the plot along. Since not enough is revealed about how a specific disguise is worked out, it might seem a bit thin but it still works here.

The story itself beyond being science fiction seems to contain a mix of moral elements as regards prejudices and race hate. It becomes a story of a young mans journey to grow to maturity and whether he can alter his thinking and his beliefs when the time comes; or if he'll let the rage building inside to overflow and color his own sense of justice.

Even after all these years this is not only an great Classic; but it stands as a story that SFF fans should love and would stand well with other YA novels today.


View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment

A message has landed on your post.