Review: A Place Beyond Man and The Webs of Varok – the first two books in Cary Neeper’s Archives of Varok series
By Frank Kaminski, Mud City Press
When Cary Neeper first published excerpts of her novel The Webs of Varok on Resilience.org, one commenter dismissed the work as being “merely a polemic pretending to be a novel.” Only the first charge is correct. The book clearly is an impassioned polemic against the extravagance and destructiveness of industrial society, but it’s hardly “pretending to be a novel.” Rather, it is an involving, well-plotted story that does justice to both the hard science underpinning its interplanetary settings and the long evolutionary perspectives typical of the old scientific romances (those of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Arthur C. Clarke). Further, Neeper is in good company in her use of polemic, as Resilience editor Bart Anderson pointed out in his reply to the first commenter’s post. Anderson observed that George Orwell, Sinclair Lewis, Aldous Huxley and many other great authors have used polemic to poignant and lasting effect.