Top critical review
Science Fiction This is Not
on 10 August 1999
I absolutely had to review the Merro Tree, if for no other reason than to question virtually nearly all the other on-line reviews. The overwhewlming consensus appears to be that is a 5-star sci-fi classic, and hence the reason I bought it. I was extremely disappointed.
For a start, there is next to no science in this book. Apparently there is extensive space travel, yet most of the worlds described in this book appear to possess little in the way of industry. This brings me to my second beef. The settings for the action are very poorly described. The worlds that are the basis for science fiction novels should be fantastic, but they should be described in a way that enables the reader to suspend reality and actually start believing that they could be real. There was nothing about the Merro Tree that was believable. It is pure fantasy, and IMHO, the fairy floss kind.
Okay. Some pretty big issues are dealt with - censorship, racial tolerance and homosexuality - but are we really expected to take these issues seriously when the settings and the characters are just so silly.