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Category Archives: Jane Palmer

Moving Moosevan by Jane Palmer (1990)

In a previous post I reviewed The Planet  Dweller by Jane Palmer. Moving Moosevan is sequel to that novel, also published by Women’s  Press in 1990 in  their groundbreaking science  fiction series.

Moving Moosevan follows directly on from The Planet Dweller with many of the same characters and some new ones.   Neighbours  Diana and   Eva are once again  caught up in the battle to save the world from   invasion by the  malodorous Mott,  asssisted by  Yuri,  and  also  Drax and Reniola, two inter-galactic super-intelligences able to  shapeshift into other forms, including a cat and a woman who looks disconcertingly  like Mrs Thatcher.

Inept  frog-like Olmuke underlings Kulp, Tolt and Jannau are assisting the Mott invaders  by  trying to open a portal to earth from  the Mott planet.  And there are some new players  in the game:  Yat and his fellow androids on  the Mott planet scheming to take the earth for themselves.

The planet dweller herself,  Moosevan, now firmly entrenched below ground  starts to make  changes  to the earth, unhappy with what humanity has done to the  planet’s environment. Britain and Ireland start moving southwards, for instance, and mountains topped  with observatories grow much taller:

Under the curious  gaze of the Pole star even stranger things were begining to happen. The ozone layer, seasonally shredded by pollution, was reknitting itself. The palls of smoke which regularly hung over so many parts of South America were inexplicably doused and trees with manic growth rates began to reforrest the scarred land. …In the north of the continent similar dramatic acts of land reclamation were underway. All the open-cast mines and  quarries whch  had scarred the land were inexplicably filled in.  The ground was being shaken up and put back in its original shape. Topsoil was strewn over the blasted land and vegetation shot up like a tapestry to weave it into place before the winds could scatter it again. Being so public an exercise, no land agent could persuade buyers to claim a plot of this miracle pasture. Even prairie dogs thought twice about taking up residence.  It was no place for the God-fearing, superstitious or nervous rodent. So, like belladonna, being allowed to fruit, beauty was left to  prosper.

Industry flanking the Rhine slowly sank, and plants once more secured the eroded banks of the Ganges and Brahmaputra

Oh , and there is Salisbury, “a tall, lean, friendly-looking man, ” who unknowingly  is Moosevan’s new object of desire.

By the end everything is resolved in a good way, although humanity has been moved to a new home, Titan. So a sequel beckons.

Jane Palmer designed the book jacket.

 

Fight the power (drain): The Watcher by Jane Palmer (1986)

The Watcher was Jane Palmer’s second original novel for the Women’s  Press science fiction series. In a previous post I looked at her first novel, The Planet Dweller.

Opu looked down at the chattering  bundle of  uncoordinated wings, arms and legs, tumbling  about the floor beneath everyon’e feet, and wondered what pitch of evolution she was likely to represent. Her child has just managed to escape  for the fifth time from the play-pen that was supposed to be child-proof, and was about to bite the leg of another of the  control room staff  in in discovery of the different things a beak could be used for.

Opu is a working mother, juggling her important  job in energy with childcare, fretting about her growing  offspring Opuna, whose behaviour she discusses with her partner, Anapa.   Opu is a member of the Ojalie, a hermaphrodite winged race who depend upon capturing  the energy  from their second sun for power and sustenenance: she  is a controller,  regulating the power around their planet through numerous stations.

The Ojalie’s orderly life is disprupted by the appearance of a Sun  Dancer which sucks the power from their stations, threatening the survival  of their planet. They trace the Sun Dancer back to an obscure planet, Perimeter 84926,  and dispatch an android called the Kybion to track this world down. Surprise, surprise, it’s the Earth.

Fast forward (or possibly fast backwards, I am not too clear about the time-line)  to  the English coast in the C19th where  a group of shipwrecked  passengers encounter the Kybion in  a cave. At first  it wants  to kill them,  but then oddly is persuaded to let them live, in fact to go one better, to extend their life by slowing down the ageing process.

Then we go forward (I am sure about this  at least ) to the 1980s when a young Asian woman, Gabrielle,  goes to stay on her  own in her aunt’s  remote cottage on the coast. She encounters a stranger, Wendle, who reveals  that he is 127, and she becomes involved  in an  increasingly complex series of events involving Wendle  (young and old),   a  young black policeman called Weatherby  masquerading as a butler,  somebody nasty called Gunn, telepathic communication, spirits,   a watery planet called  Taigal Rex, and much else besides. In time we discover who the Star Dancer is, and who  is the Watcher  of the novel’s title.

Overall I  found this an unsatisfcatory  novel:   there are flashes of charm and invention,  but much that seems clunky and maladroit,  and too many  McGuffins to solve knots in the plot. I do love the cover, though.