Macroscope is reminiscent of subverted Rob-ert Heinlein. Piers Anthony uses character types Hein-lein used often: the wise older man, the beautiful young woman with red hair, and the problem-solving young man. Heinlein asserted that intelligence and science were the tools people would use to conquer the universe; Anthony affirms that the less intelligent also have important contributions to make, that science is not necessarily the best way to solve every problem, and that the universe may not be humanity’s to conquer.
Anthony, a prolific writer with a long career, produced earlier work that generally is grimmer and more serious than his popular Xanth series and that may surprise readers accustomed to his lighthearted, punning fantasies. Macroscope may be the finest of Anthony’s science-fiction novels. In it, he deftly fuses sweeping space opera and serious themes to produce an engrossing novel with a moral message.