Black Star Rising

by Frederik Pohl
Reviewed date: 2005 Jul 31
Rating: 2
293 pages
cover art

Plot: America and the USSR blow each other to smithereens, and then the Chinese show up and rebuild the world. Our hero, Castor, lives in America in a socialist commune run by the Chinese. Then aliens show up in orbit, demand to speak to the President of the United States. Castor is elected president in a rigged election and is sent up to negotiate with the aliens. Instead, he discovers the alien erks intend to help the Americans and restore the United States of America as a sovereign nation and world superpower.

Altogether an unremarkable book. The plot is so paper-thin that it would only work as a juvenile, but the sexual content is too much to make it appropriate for that age group. The final plot resolution is so pedestrian that it defies belief.

She took a deep draft on the pipe and handed it back to him in silence. Then she exploded: "You Yanks! How many of you secretly hate us?"
"It is natural to hate one's conquerors," Castor said boldly, sucking at the pipe.
"But we are not conquerors! We came here to help, when you and the Russians had stung each other to death--and nearly killed the whole world, too! We brought doctors and teachers! We helped you rebuild your land!" When Castor was silent, she turned her eyes from the road for a moment to look at him. "Don't you know that?" she demanded. "Don't you know that without us you might all have perished? We did right to come!"
The pipe was burned out now. Castor turned it over in his fingers thoughtfully. What the woman said was true enough, or almost true enough, except--
"Except that you are still here," he said at last.

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