As with the other
books in this series, the author progressed at a steady pace, giving the
main character very little actual power, but still allowing him to
explore his neighborhood, to some degree. I like Bandicut and his
robots, his alien friends, but I don’t find them particularly engaging.
The solution to the problem, though, is well-received: many problems can
be solved by opening communications, and humanity seems to be pretty
good about that.
It seems like very little of these books actually deal with solutions to
the problems presented. In this novel, Bandicut and his alien friends
have travelled to a place in the depths of a water-society. The Neri
pick them up, and the stones allow communications. For sure, there is a
mystery, and it is not obvious at first. It looks like the Neri are
having problems with another species called Landers, who are bringing
disease among the sea-folk. But that is not actually true. The Neri were
descended from people who could live on land or in the sea, and they had
machines that helped them build their habitats, submersibles and other
material needs they had. But these things are breaking down, so they are
harvesting metals and plastics from a submerged starship that crashed
there decades (maybe generations?) ago. This upsets the Landers, as it
is obviously their ship, though it is useless to them now. And the
diseases that were killing the Neri were from radiation poisoning, since
they inadvertently removed the door or walls to a radiation chamber.
The real problem is the monster that lives at the bottom of the sea,
which is causing earthquakes and even damaging Neri habitations. It
turns out that this monster is sort of a
accelerator, similar to the one that sent Bandicut and the others to
this planet from the space habitat they visited
last book. It gripped
the passing starship, causing it to crash. It has been trying to do its
job ever since it crashed itself under the water of this planet, but has
been unable to.
Meanwhile, the two robots, who have grown almost completely sentient
themselves, repair one of the Neri factories, though Bandicut has to put
in the final touches.
Without Bandicut, the situation would have escalated even further out of
control. He brings the voice of reason in communicating between the two
groups of Neri, and then with the Landers, even after one of them is
captured –the Neri want to kill him or torture him, but Bandicut uses
reason and the stones to communicate, and get the other side of the
Meanwhile, the more uncertain alien,
Li-Jarad, gains his courage, even to the
point of letting his stones split so that he can give a set to the
Lander, thus protecting the Lander and Bandicut (who had sacrificed his
own for the Lander). Bandicut consummates his lust for the
woman-with-four-breasts Antares, and they both fall more in love with
each other. Their trip to the surface to the solar array was interesting
in the topics it brought up. Events at Triton dictate that someday
Julie, Bandicut’s former lover, will arrive on the scene, forming a love
triangle along the way. Now that Julie has stones, how will she use
them? What danger is there still to Earth?
The climax of the book is quite exciting, for one of these books.
Bandicut and his friends and robots climb into their submersible, ready
to move on, now that they have brought peace to the two races living on
this planet. They also give a purpose to the monster in the deep. Since
it is supposed to fling starships through space, and it has been unable
to fulfill its purpose, especially after having crashed the landers’
spaceship, they satisfy it by getting flung to their next destination.
It is interesting to note that the situation on the planet is stable,
but by no way completely resolved. But Bandicut is satisfied that the
Neri and the landers can figure it out peacefully. And their next
destination appears to be the same as in the last book. Are they really
returning to the space station, which is perhaps to become a base of
operations? I guess the next book in the series will tell…