Warpath Paperback – 6 Jan 1994
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However, that summary and most of the reviews here can't tell you how good this book is. They don't mention the sheer inventiveness of the novel; Daniel has half a dozen good ideas weaved in and out, along with themes of imperialism and cultural sensitivity, and a sly satire of secular humanism to boot. On the surface, it seems like a future-western, with white folk facing off with Native Americans, but to be so simplistic does the novel a disservice.
Now, it is true that sometimes it seems like Daniel is stringing his book along more on pathos and cool sf ideas than by actual plot, but my enjoyment never suffered for it. I loved the exhilaration of creativity; why should mere logic come into the picture? Daniel is brilliant, and should he ever control and direct that brilliance, you can be assured that nothing less than a masterpiece will result.
The writing, however, is superior!
I would much rather have a off-beat, or even odd, alternate universe written tightly and with a very enjoyable style than most of the poorly-written, but straight-line extrapolation, SF novels one runs across.
Daniels writes fluidly, engagingly, and I felt very connected to the characters, the plot, and the alternate universe he created. I'll admit that some fo the universe conceptualizations were hard to accept, but have you every tried analyzing the universe A.E. Van Vogt created in "Slan"? It's got more inconsistencies than one could shake a cliche at, but in the end it doesn't matter because you enjoy how it's written, and you have a good time reading it. Warpath and Daniels writing affected me that way. I want to read more, and have two Danniels books on pre-publish order here at Amazon based on his entertaining and professional writing style.
Anyway, as my previous statements imply, the book combines many of the common elements associated with native American Indian culture, animal gods and the like, being one with nature, canoes (yeah, right), and lots of stupid white people, into one seriously bad SF novel. What was sort of funny was that even though these space traveling white folk were living on a distant planet, they totally lacked any real technological capability? They were using sheet fed printing presses to publish the local newspaper, and culturally still seemed to fit the backwater image of the average southern hillbilly with a racist attitude towards anything that didn't look Caucasian. Maybe they traveled there using rafts made by binding tree limbs together?
The real unfortunate thing about reading this book was that I had to review it for a local newspaper. The editor for book reviews was a friend of a friend of the author. So with no real way to slash the author for writing a complete piece of garbage, and not damage my relationship with the book reviews editor, I did what I had to do. I wrote a pretty basic review of the book that did little more than outline the plot elements, collected my fee, and never went back for another book to review for fear of getting a reputation for delivering nothing for something! THE END...