Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flinx Transcendent by Alan Dean Foster

Publisher: Audible Frontiers (May 2009)

Narrator: Stefan Rudnicki

Audio Length: 15 hours 23 minutes

Blurb from Audible: From one of the most brilliant imaginations in science fiction comes Flinx Transcendent, Alan Dean Foster's thrilling conclusion to the series that began over 35 years ago - the epic adventures of Flinx and his flying minidrag companion, Pip.

Flinx is the only one with even the tiniest chance of stopping the evil colossus barreling in to destroy the Humanx Commonwealth (and everything else in the Milky Way). With time running out, Flinx is a man in search of a solution and in search of himself. His efforts take him to the land of his mortal enemies, the bloodthirsty AAnn, where chances are excellent that Flinx's discovery - and summary execution - will eliminate all his demons and doubts in one masterstroke.

The way Flinx is feeling, that might not be the worst imaginable end. After years of searching for his father, he finally has - and must bear - the truth. And now he must also seek out an ancient sentient weapons platform wandering around somewhere in the galaxy and then communicate with it, a powwow that could very well fry his already frazzled brain. Then there are the oblivion-craving assassins determined to stop Flinx before he can prevent total annihilation.

With a future that rosy, it's no surprise he's flirting with disaster. Still, Flinx is no quitter, and he's got something else going for him - an uncanny ability to improvise and triumph (or at least survive) in impossible situations. He's certainly been through enough of them, and now he's going to need every ounce of that know-how, because he's venturing to places where the laws of physics fear to tread, where no one's ever been, to do what no one's ever done, and where his deadliest enemy is so close it's invisible.

I have been enjoying this series since my early teens. It is bitter sweet to finish the final book in a 14-book series that started in 1972. Alan Dean Foster didn't let me down; Flinx Transcendent was full of action, self-realization, and character growth. Large reptiles (the AAnn), the mysterious and deadly Order of Null, plus a guest appearance by an old 'acquaintance', his mentors Thranx Truzenzuzex and human Bran Tse-Mallory all populate this tale.

We start off on the homeworld of the AAnn, with Flinx in an outrageous, yet convincing, full-body suit disguise. He's worked hard at learning the native tongue and costumes, and with luck he can probably pull off his ruse for....a few weeks? a few months? As clever as Flinx is, he didn't plan for everything. Now his life rests in the scaled, clawed palm of a young AAnn.

Let me just say, that, once again, Flinx proves he has a pair of brass balls.

After leaving the AAnn home planet, he heads to Clarity Held, his love, who is still recuperating from her massive injuries received in Book 12 (Trouble Magnet). Bran and Tru have been keeping Clarity company and seeing them again was like clasping hands with old friends. And this is also where The Order of Null starts making pests of themselves again. Flinx rescues Clarity with the assistance of another Thranx companion and all five of them depart on his ship The Teacher.

Now all they have to do is find the ancient, sentient, free-floating weapons platform and ask for assistance in destroying the great evil that is headed towards their galaxy. I think Flinx might need some caffeine and headache medicine.

Stefan Rudnicki did a great job, as usual. His voice is deep and provides a certain gravity to the serious parts of this novel.

Pluses: Pip and her son Scrap; Tru and Bran; the tale pulled in friends and foes from throughout the series; the ending.

Minuses: It might only be me, but Clarity Held never became as real a character as Bran and Tru and her main function in the series was to a) be rescued or b) provide support and affection to Flinx.

1 comment:

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