- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 654 KB
- Print Length: 160 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Crossroad Press & Macabre Ink Digital; Crossroad Press First Digital edition (23 Dec. 2012)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00ASSEBY0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,168,664 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Stress Pattern Kindle Edition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The novel's protagonist is a feckless young man named Andrew Gavin. En route to assume a position as an economics professor on a Federation world, his spacecraft crash-lands on an uncharted planet.
Gavin is saved from slow death from thirst and hunger by the chance passing of a humanoid alien named 'Phrecti', who, although indifferent to Gavin, nonetheless directs him to sources of food and water.
Tagging along with the noncommittal Phrecti introduces Gavin to a unique method of travel: inside the digestive tract of an enormous earthworm, as it tunnels its way under the planet's surface.
Gavin soon encounters other tribes of humanoids, some more welcoming than others, and arrives at some semblance of normalcy in terms of his castaway status.
However, Gavin discovers that life on his planetary refuge simply gets stranger and more inexplicable with each passing day. His humanoid neighbors are utterly devoid of imagination or drive, content to embrace the status quo of their primitive existence.
Unable to succumb to universal apathy, Gavin sets off on a journey, the destination of which is unknown even to him. But travel he must, for until he can gain an explanation of some purpose or meaning to life on his adopted home, he will never rest easily.
As a first novel, `Stress Pattern' is competently written, if not particularly exciting or memorable.
It belongs to the genre of sf popularized by `Analog' magazine in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s, a genre in which a Terran stumbles across a planet with some sort of inexplicably quirky civilization. The narrative is one long voyage to revelation.
The intense, violent action and provocative themes that characterize Barrett's later novels, such as `Through Darkest America', are entirely absent here
`Pattern' does avoid the New Wave affectations that preoccupied many writers who began writing sf in the 70s, staying firmly grounded in a declarative, straightforward narrative.
In summary, readers may want to pass on 'Stress Pattern' in favor of Barrett's later novels, such as the 'Aldair' series, or the 'Darkest America' series.
The story of a human castaway exploring and making do on an alien planet is a well used, better yet over used theme that has propelled many a science fiction story. Along comes Mr. Neil Barrett Jr. (1929-2014) with an attempt to shed some new insights into this old chestnut.
He achieves a fair measure of success in his 1974 novel "Stress Pattern" for which this reader was modestly grateful. His is a linear story - crash landing on a uncharted planet - survival - encounter with intelligent humanoid aliens - questions are answered -but, sorry no methods available to escape the planet. One of the better aspects of this novel is the nature of the survivor: an introspective type not very "well turned-out" as far as hero's go, but refreshing in his performance of believable survival behavior. Another plus is the world itself: it is so strange the reader realizes early on that something is amiss: where are the insects, birds, sea - life and how did the intelligent beings evolve? The answer and conclusions was a let down for me but the ride to get there was an enjoyable escape.
Mr. Barrett did not write many science-fiction novels and he deserves to read by readers with an interest in this literature I opine. Unfortunately this recommend book had only one U.S. publication as a DAW paperback in 1974 with a striking Josh Kirby cover. Find it on the internet - worth the search.