Freedom's Landing

Anne McCaffrey

An Ace/Putnam Book. $22.95
(paper $5.99)


Kris, once a college student in Denver, now finds herself on a planet called Botany, with limited supplies and no information. The Catteni, a race of space-traveling aliens, have kidnapped humans and other aliens alike and stranded them on Botany to colonize it. But what the Catteni don't realize is that Botany is already spoken for: the entire planet, although empty of intelligent life, is farmed by machines and the harvest shipped off-planet to -- where?

Freedom's Landing marks the beginning of "a new epic series" by the perennially popular Anne McCaffrey. It promises plenty of adventure, from the grand conflict of Earth versus the Catteni and the as-yet unseen Catteni overlords (as well as the equally invisible and mysterious masters of Botany) down to the personal involvement of Kris and Zainal, one of the Catteni. In spite of the elaborate setting, however, Freedom's Landing does not have a strong plot and mostly deals with the exploration of Botany and the rapid recreation of civilization there, including cellular phones. The story is definitely unfinished; the book just pauses at a convenient place, not quite a cliff hanger, until the next installment can come out.

Despite McCaffrey's popular and best-selling status, her writing often begs for stronger editing. As usual, she is at her most awkward when discussing food: "She bit appreciatively into the firm, reddish flesh of the fruit, and the succulent juices dribbled down her chin onto her tanned breasts." She also has an aggravating habit of placing words in unnecessary quotation marks, as if condescending to tell the reader, "well, not really": "But there were so many 'things' they lacked" or "he didn't seem to have 'muscles' where humans did." And the characters are always grinning, sometimes as often as three and four times a page.

While McCaffrey can produce quite good novels, both singularly and within series -- Pegasus in Flight and Powers That Be are two recent titles -- Freedom's Landing is far from her best. Let's hope the series improves.

 

Freedom:

Freedom's Landing. Putnam, 1995.
Freedom's Choice. Putnam, 1997
Freedom's Challenge. Putnam, 1998

Anne McCaffrey's web page

 

This review copyright 1996 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated July 31, 2000


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