Man of Two Worlds by Frank and Brian Herbert. Review by Andrea Johnson
I don't often enjoy books that have been written by two authors. I can usually tell where one author stopped and the other began, so it seems choppy to me. But this is a book written by two people who know each other better than most. Yes, I could tell who wrote which parts, and it's funny in a way, but it's still a damn good book, and a damn fun read.
Think Invasion of the Body Snatchers, from the body snatchers' point of view. The Dreen are storytellers. They create the universe with their stories. When a master storyteller weaves a tale of an unknown world covered in oceans and mountains and monsters and men, as the master weaves the tale, the world becomes a physical manifestation of his story. As more Dreen tell more chapters of the story and visit the world, the world is fleshed out, beings are created, locations are built, myths and heroes unfold. And thus, the earth was created.
Meet the people of the Earth. Lutt Hanson Jr., a scientist and inventor, discoverer of vorspirals, and accidental visitor to Dreen-space. The Dreen realize that something must be done to stop the humans from discovering Dreen! Ryll, a Dreen, escapes Dreenor, hoping to communicate with Lutt Hanson, and instead, both are mortally wounded. To save them both, Ryll merges their bodies, himself becoming trapped in Hanson's mind.
How does an adolescent alien trapped in the mind of a disenfranchised inventor save the world without ending up in a mental institution? Let's just say, if "you think therefore you are," your world will end in a puff of logic.
This book is a ton of fun to read. The Dreenor are a quiet, meditative people. We get a little insight into the childhood and life of their oldest member, their supreme tax collector, Habiba. She has that "reverend mother-ness" about her, secretive, manipulative, when forced to take blame for her own mistakes, she guilts her followers into doing her bidding. Ryll is a typical adolescent, adventuresome, confused and grossed out by the opposite sex. Most of all, he doesn't want anyone to get hurt. Lutt Hanson is Han Solo, looking out for no one but number one, except when a pretty girl enters the scene.
I'll admit, the story gets a little choppy at times, as it's obvious that Brian took over the action, and Dad did all the philosophical moments. Definitely a good read, if you can find a copy.
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Andrea Johnson lives in beautiful southwestern Michigan with her husband, and spends as much time as possible reading and enjoying science fiction and other speculative fiction. She is an administrator and book reviewer at Worm's Sci Fi Haven and an official reviewer at Multiverse.