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on 13 February 1999
An author should not have to stamp "satire" on the cover of a book to have readers look at it in the proper light. Parallelities is a light satire which has many clever twists. I found this book much more enjoyable than the lionized "Hitchhiker's Guide".
Foster begins with an aura that suggests the standard serious SF genre. However, the book quickly becomes a light-hearted ride thorough a series of unreal universes. The writing is crisp, with many "tongue-in-cheek" situations. I agree that Mr.Foster began to fade a bit toward the end. However, the book overall provided a pleasant afternoon's reading. This is not "Dune" or even "Hyperion", but is not meant to be.
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on 19 November 1998
I really wanted to like this book - I've always been a fan of Alan Dean Foster (Yeah, Flinx!) - but by the end of it all I could say was shrug and say "eh."
The central idea is interesting, if a bit over done. We've seen the "man torn from his own world, just trying to survive and get home" plotline thousands of times - dozens, even if we just count the AH versions. But there are few new plotlines, what counts is what you do with it.
And in my opinion, Foster doesn't do very much at all with this one.
To begin with, Maxwell Parker is not what you'd call a sympathetic character. Being a tabloid reporter, he's more than a little bit of a sleaze. Self-centered, egotistical, in love with himself, he's not someone you hang around with if you have a choice. And while this changes a little during the course of the book (nothing like meeting dozens of copies of yourself to give you a good feel for your weak points) , in the end, all Max really wants to do is go right back to the life he had before this all started, and in the meantime, all he's really doing is moping a lot. Self-centered depression is not what I call an ideal character development.
In fact, if I had to sum up what Max learns through all this it's "There's no place like home," a lesson The Wizard of Oz taught with much nicer characters - and which I have reservations about even there.
Foster introduces entirely too many characters that do a brief walk-on, set up themselves somewhat, and then are never seen again. I understand that most of these characters are "paras" that will vanish before the end of the chapter (by the very nature of the story), but it still feels like Foster is setting up someone to use and then just discarding them.
The whole book, in fact, is (over) loaded with long, winding, witty descriptives. It looks like Foster was trying to do the type of writing Terry Pratchett does in his Diskworld series (and other places). But Foster just doesn't quite manage it.
Mind you. This isn't a horrible book, nor one you'll read halfway through and then toss across the room in disgust. It's just a bland, rather pointless meander that probably could have been done better as a short story or novella.
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on 2 July 1999
This was the first book by Alan Dean Foster that I have ever read, and I must say I am impressed. I usually read books of Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler variety, but I was bored and it was there. As I started to read I was immediatly brought into a world where, at least for one man, the whole world changes in a second. So it's a desperate struggle for him to try and discover who he really is, and where he is really from. Along the way he encounters aliens, ghosts, other versions of himself (including a female one), and even a world occupied entirely by versions of himself!!! I enjoyed the small bits of humour thrown in and the actual science was kept to minimum. I highly suggest this book, no matter what you usually read, you will enjoy it!!!!!
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on 9 December 1998
This book is definitely Foster. If you are paying attention - and who wants to do that reading Sci-Fi - you can pick out some insights to that theme Foster has been leading us to for twenty years. In this story you find some insights to that mysterious evil that seems to be lurking at the edge of all of his novels. Finally, we get a glimpse of those aliens who fled the evil. For those of us who love and follow Flinx, you will get a treat.
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on 7 September 1998
This book is slow, boring and definitely not up to Mister Foster's past accomplishments. The main reason I find this so frustating is that I have read every thing else he has written at least five or six times. This one only well... In fact, on three separate occasions I have tried to finish the book and couldn't..... Did I say it was boring??? Let me make that clear.... THIS BOOK IS ONE YOU WILL WANT TO PUT DOWN!!!!
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on 15 October 1998
I saw this book and was ecstatic! Parallel universes _and_ Alan Dean Foster, what a promising combination. There's one problem. It's pure fluff, completely disconnected. You're better off watching some old Sliders episodes. My big conclusion after reading this book is that I can't trust name recognition anymore.
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on 5 October 1999
I am a fan of Alan Dean Foster. I have every book he has written to my knowledge and this is the one I would tell people NOT to buy. Please don't judge the author by this pathetic attempt at a book. Buy something else of his and have a fun read.
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