I love the tension the narrator creates in Ansible 15715 – mixing the future and the past, feminine athletic/intellect versus male weakness/mindlessness are some of his contrasts.
The idea of first contact by flinging minds across space is not new, but presents a fresh approach. For example, Clifford D Simak’s Time is the Simplest Thing (1974) has people going out into space to find technology/knowledge, using only their minds. The faraway creatures in both worlds are cold, inhuman, and cruel. In this book, the touch of the evil creatures feels like satin but evokes terror is wonderful.
Litore uses strong women in his stories, especially Devora in Strangers in the Land. Writing about an Arabic woman is a departure from his usual Old Testament commentary. The narrator begins as an Arabic earth-woman, then transfers to a starving, weak male in a cave society, and finally to a young Christian woman on earth, but a time long before she was born.
Starmind, the company where our heroine works, represents the worst of corporate power, which could be equated with the corporate presence called Fishook in Simak’s book. Both times the narrator is transferred, the host bodies’ mind is killed, something Starmind said would not happen. Fishook said people would not be damaged by flinging their minds across space, but the hero’s mind was invaded by an alien on one of his trips. Starmind said that the narrator would share minds with her target, not destroy them.
The way the non-humans use fear and hunger to control humans is a tension Litore uses in his works. The way eyes and minds of the people in the cave were dulled by the food they ate, is similar to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. How the woman wakes up after food was withheld shows how the people in the Allegory would respond when turning around.
The beginning in the book is, “we are all in danger, the most terrible danger” evokes “be afraid…be terribly afraid” of The Fly. Thus in 17 pages Litore manages to bring to mind a fabulous mixture of ideas and concepts from the both the past and present.
I can’t wait for his next installment.