Mission Earth, Volume II

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

BLACK GENESIS follows the actions of two alien agents: one sent by the Empire, and one sent to stop him. The book opens with a Voltarian Censor’s disclaimer, a Translator’s preface, and an explanatory key. Following these preliminaries is a letter from Soltan Gris to the Justiciary of the Royal Courts and Prisons. The letter is an apology for Gris’s actions on Earth and an attempt to blame his opponent, Jettero Heller, for all wrongdoings.

Heller has been sent by the Empire to clean up Earth, so that there will be something worth invading in a hundred years. Gris’s job is to sabotage Heller’s mission and to kill him, as Earth contains a vital element in the plot to overthrow the Empire. However, after Gris has set in motion Heller’s doom, he discovers that once Heller stops reporting back to the Empire, the invasion will begin immediately. Gris can do nothing but watch as Heller avoids certain death time after time.

While the premise is intriguing, the execution is wordy and uneven; the reader is periodically jerked out of the action and into Gris’s commentary. While BLACK GENESIS does not presuppose knowledge of the first volume of this projected “dekology” (a series of ten novels), it does leave the reader waiting for volume 3, for at the end of the novel the plot complications remain unresolved. Some readers, however, may find two volumes quite enough.