Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bio of a Space Tyrant, Volume 1 - Piers Anthony

Bio of a Space Tyrant Vol. 1. Refugee - Piers Anthony (1983) (Science Fiction, Male, New Author, Series)

Some info from Wikipedia:
The series revolves around the character Hope Hubris and his family, and charts Hope's ascent from poor Hispanic refugee to Tyrant of Jupiter, a single person heading the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches of the government. It is considerably more adult-themed than many of Anthony's earlier works.
Follows Hope and his family's flight from their home on Callisto to Jupiter. Hope's family sets out in a "space bubble" with many other refugees. The group is attacked multiple times by space pirates, and most of the adults are raped, killed, or kidnapped by the end of the story.
When I saw the premise of the story, the opening pages, about how the lead character starts as a teenager and will some day become known as the Tyrant of Jupiter - boy, was I excited. That's a helluva lot to tell in one story!

But it wasn't all told in one story, I later discovered.

If there was ever a tale with an absolutely tragic beginning - this has to got to be it. Even most of the dark stories I read aren't nearly as tragic as this one was.

Having said all that, Piers Anthony, even back then, was an amazing writer. Fantastic storytelling voice and prose. Maybe a couple sections didn't sit well with me, with too much infodumping and technical specifications. But, then again, I don't read all that much scifi.

This tale is not for the faint of heart whatsoever, and without a doubt, it's absolutely a veneered political statement on the state of immigration, which may or may not sit well with modern readers. As the premise for the start of a series, for the tale of a boy who develops into much more than what he started out as, it holds up well.

For the experience of trying a new author, I'm glad I read it. The reputation and praise generally associated with Anthony is well deserved. For the experience of reading a story about a youth who is changed into something more, something darker, based on his experiences - absolutely. Love it. We'll call it research.

Have any of you read this, or anything else by Piers Anthony? What did you think?

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