Top critical review
Living & fighting 12 centuries of warfare in this parallel Earth will be an enjoyable read for some and horrendous for others
on 10 September 2017
This book is a definite Marmite experience - you'll either love it or probably find it difficult and exhausting. The book is a autobiography William Mandella (fictional character) who was conscripted into earth's army in order to fight the Taurans an alien race who it seems are in competition to use the various stargates (which are used to travel great distances quickly). We as readers get to see what Mandella experiences through his military training and how a human on this fictional earth (or parallel earth) in 1996 looks and feels like. We see Mandella and his fellow soldiers go through some horrendous experiences as well as periods of boredom and sexual freedom. However travelling through the stargates has it downside in that time goes much more slowly for the travellers than it does for those on earth - hence we see Mandella by the end of the book living in 3143. The novel deals with all the emotions that many soldiers would experience, namely pain, boredom, fatigue, death, brutality, relief - however it also deals with mankind's changing nature of society, politics & warfare over the 12 centuries of Mandella's lifetime. This book will really appeal to those who like reading about wartime experiences and perhaps parallel worlds, but for many this book will feel too depressive and down beat about mankind's future as the novel only has rare glimpses of enjoyment and happiness and is totally dominated by society becoming controlled on the one hand and on the other - people fighting against the control by becoming violent and descending into thuggery. I found the later half of this book too dark and dismal (as I only want to read so much that is negative in one go) - also that the main protagonist had a somewhat shallow personality that wasn't ever expanded upon - hence the 3 stars. However the book shows a very creative mind with an excellent storyline and plot - it has mostly short chapters (which made reading easier) - doesn't indulge on wasted verbiage - deals with subject matters that would have been ahead of it's time (the book was published in 1974). I would give the book 6 out of 10 even though I didn't totally enjoy reading the book because of it's dark nature, it is however a truly creative and unique piece of work.