he second book of the Gaea Trilogy, the mid-point of the sprawling saga about this huge space-going alien with a world inside her. And now the world is at war.
Cirocco Jones, the Captain of the wrecked exploration ship to Saturn and stairmaster of the greatest uphill climb the world has ever seen, has confronted Gaea, the God of this spinning hub, and accepted the job as Wizard. It seemed like a good idea at the time – it sounded like some sort of roving repair woman – it turn turned out to have consequences. Like, one big one – she alone must bless the centaur-like creatures of the world with their birthright (to control their population). But she can only grant so many pregnancies. The pressure is such that our bold can-do heroine who closed out book one is now a wasted drunk in the second book.
Add to this the fact that Gaea is allowing crazy people to immigrate to her (she has put word out to her Earth-side ambassadors). So to the living world comes Chris, a nice guy with a problem that he goes stark uncontrollable crazy from time to time, and Robin the witch, a fierce woman from an L2 colony of lesbians, who simply conks out when the mood strikes. They join Cirocco and Gaby on a great trip around the ring, sniffing at Gaea’s auxiliary brains for allies in overthrow. The mad goddess must be toppled!
If there is something John Varley can do, it’s a sense of biological wonder. This time, the band of adventurers find themselves up against some truly crazy monsters (including my favorite – buzz bombs: winged creatures that dangle from the hub roof and ignite a crude ram-jet when they drop, flying along at skim-level, trying to impale unwary travelers on their barbed beaks). So the battle is on. Characters die. Characters suffer strange fates. Weird things happen. Great SciFi/Fantasy results!
If you haven’t read these books, start with Titan and then pick up this one. It’s a true blast from the past!