Friday, July 10, 2015

The Werewolf Principle by Clifford D. Simak

(hb; 1967)

From the inside flap:

"Andrew Blake is found in a space capsule on a distant planet and is brought back to an unfamiliar Earth, where antigravity devices have replaced the wheel, and house talk and even fly!

"Yet nothing is as strange as Blake's own feelings. Tormented by eerie sensations and loss of memory, he doesn't know who he really is or exactly where he has come from. His destiny only begins to grow frighteningly clear when he meets a weird, tassel-eared creature who darkly hints at the truth about Blake's origins.

"Slowly Blake becomes aware of the long hushed-up 'Werewolf Principle,' a scientific theory buried in the past, which holds the key to Blake's own fate -- and the future of the human race."


Werewolf is fun, often surprising and quirky science fiction novel, with its odd, risible mix of elements and characters (the Brownies, the A.I.-enhanced houses whose different rooms have different personalities who bicker, etc.). There are not a lot of twists in this, but there are tightly written, point-of-view shifts which eagle-eyed readers will probably, quickly make sense of, as well as an effectively foreshadowed end-of-novel twist, which further contributed to my enjoyment of Werewolf. (Some eagle-eyed readers may grumble that the nature of the end-twist feels tacked-on, but I -- who view this as the work of an excellent writer having a mainstream, good blast-of-a-time -- didn't mind it.)

Werewolf is worth owning, if you enjoy science fiction that's mildly provocative and generally thoughtful, but does not take itself too seriously.

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