Voyage to the City of the Dead, Alan Dean Foster (1984)

November 11th, 2009

This was one of my summer garage sale books. I found it behind the seat in the truck, when I forgot to grab a book from my stash. I have more books back there and if they are as good as this one, I’ll have to dig them out.

Alan Dean Foster is probably more famous for the novelizations that he did for movies. He was the ghost writer for Lucas for the Star Wars novel. He has written many novels.

Voyage to the City of the Dead was the first book of Foster’s that I’ve ever read. I have always avoided him because the covers of his book looked a little juvenile. I somehow did not think of him as being a serious writer, and this was without ever reading any of his books.

Well, I stand corrected. Voyage to the City of the Dead is a seriously done book. It is an adventure with realistic sciencefictional elements. He has realistic science, believable aliens and real characters facing real human problems in an alien environment. It has the sense of wonder that I always look for, but which is so hard to define.

The book is about a zenologist and a geologist husband and wife team who undertake to explore a planet with very wild geology and three different intelligent life forms. The couple have been married 20 years and are a little cranky with each other at times. Foster does a great job building their personalities and maintaining a separate story line about their relationship. The novel brings together the adventure of exploring the alien planet and the inner story line about their marriage and the resolution at the end is satisfying. This is the way to write a novel.

I have 20 more pages to go and I will finish it on the way home. I enjoyed this book quite a bit and I will look for more Alan Dean Foster and try to make up for my own ignorance in not reading his books in the past.

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