Savage Enterprises Publishing
Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

Off The Rack

A Thousand Words For Stranger by Julie E. Czerneda (DAW Books - ISBN 0-88677-769-0) — After numerous years away from the general sci-fi field (for some reason, I don't think of Spider Robinson's Callahan's books as sci-fi... perhaps because of my familiarity with the characters and the whole human aspect of it), I took the plunge after Con*Cept 99 by picking up a copy of Julie's first written novel. The sci-fi books I'd been reading in recent years (and still do today) tended to be series related (ie; Quantum Leap, V, Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Space AAB, etc) because of the fact that I like reading further adventures of familiar characters. Must be due to my comics background :)

So, I crack open the novel and begin to read. I must admit, my attention wavered right away. We're introduced to WHIX, an alien "cop". I don't have a problem with that notion. My problem comes from the fact that this alien is a type of Avian. Yup, a birdbrain for a cop :) I find birds quite stupid, so it's difficult to see them as anything but Dodos.

Hoping he wasn't a central character, I continue on. Soon enough, we're introduced to Sira and Morgan along with a host of baddies and other shady characters. Morgan's introduction through Sira's eyes is both mysterious and intriguing. As the pages turn, the web of intrigue closes in as the two of them are brought together on Morgan's ship. While they head off, we learn about them through the beings and forces searching for them. As interesting as that information is, it is the developing love affair between Sira and Morgan which captivated me. Maybe because the feeling of love is still very new and very strong in me, but I could easily empathize with the emotions in Sira and the actions she took (for example, hoarding an object belonging to Morgan as a way of keeping a "piece" of him). Revolving around this romance are many questions. Questions leading and pointing to revolution, plots and hidden agendas, survival, and betrayal!

A finely woven tale sure to appeal to any fan of romance, intrigue, and conspiracies. The story and writing style entertained me so much that I did not hesitate to pick up the sequel at Primedia 1999! :) I'll have a review for that book in a future issue.

Julie Czerneda can be reached via

(Off The Rack (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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