THE WILD BOY
This literary first novel from Rochelle, who's published short fiction
and poetry in Aboriginal Science Fiction and other genre journals,
updates a classic SF plot: aliens conquer Earth because they have a use
for humans. On their home planet, the Lindauzi require a symbiotic
emotional relationship with the intelligent, dog-like Iani to remain sane
and sapient. When the Iani all die in a plague, the Lindauzi invade Earth
in the hope of breeding humans as acceptable substitutes. Ilox, a human
bred to be a companion, forms a bond with Phlarx, but it is not complete
enough to prevent Ilox from also bonding with other humans, i.e., women.
When his Lindauzi masters discover this flaw, Ilox must fend for himself.
Within a comparatively short compass, the author skillfully and
effectively uses multiple viewpoints, including those of Ilox, Caleb (the
son of Ilox by a "wild" woman), Phlarx and various other Lindauzi. Some
may find the premise hard to swallow, but once past the initial
suspension of disbelief, most readers will find the story absorbing.
Those seeking contemporary significance in the animal-rights subtext will
be disappointed, since Rochelle has produced what amounts to a solid
alien-invasion novel of the sort not common in SF since the 1950s and
'60s. He deserves kudos for not bloating his narrative to limits beyond
what the plot and characters can support. (Sept.)
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