The Repairmen of Cyclops

by John Brunner
Series: Zarathustra Refugee Planets 3
Reviewed date: 2004 Dec 12
Rating: 2
159 pages
cover art
cover art

The star Zarathustra went nova. People on the night side of the planet rushed to their ships and some managed to escape, shielded from the star's fury by the shadow of the planet. These survivors landed on myriad habitable planets and managed to eke out livings. The Zarathustra Refugee Planets were marginally fit for human life, and the people lived poor and desperate lives.

Not all the Zarathustra Refugee Planets (ZRPs) have been located by the Corps Galactica. Twenty-one have been located, but this accounts for only a fractions of the survivors; the remainder are either dead in space or living in primitive conditions on as-yet un-located planets.

On Cyclops, the most technologically advanced ZRP, political movements are afoot to oust the local Corps Galactica base. Although Cyclops's economy depends on the presence of the Corps base, someone on Cyclops is pulling enough strings--through blackmail, bribery, or propaganda--to demand the immediate withdrawal of the Corps.

The Repairmen of Cyclops is a decent book. The pacing is poor, due likely to its having been serialized before being fixed up for book publication. And Brunner makes a basic writing blunder: he withholds information from the reader in order to create drama. (Note to aspiring writers: withholding critical information from the reader is an egregious sin.)

Brunner also spoils the book by wrapping it up with a big speech at the end, recapping all the action that has taken place. Just in case we missed it as we were reading the book. (Note to aspiring writers: your readers are not stupid. You don't need to explain everything twice.)

Despite the glaring errors, The Repairmen of Cyclops is an enjoyable read. And by enjoyable I mean that when I finished I didn't shriek in horror and gouge out my eyeballs to atone for the sin of reading such drivel.

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