In Six Moon Dance, Sheri Tepper returns to the distant future familiar from her earlier novels. Earth is a remote ancestral memory, or a theme park exhibit; reality now embraces creatures older and wiser than the entire human race put together …
On behalf of the Council of Worlds an artificial intelligence named the Questioner examines and punishes bad behaviour towards both nonhuman species and minorities in far flung human settlements.
The Questioner’s attention is drawn to the small, barely industrialized world of Newholme. This is scary for the people of Newholme, especially the women who run it, who keep very big bad secrets… which will be revealed, though the Questioner is not there to uncover Newholme’s crimes. Rather, the Questioner is haunted by a story she heard of an interstellar creature surviving, though mutilated, on one of the six moons of Newholme.
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The three-brained android inquisitor known as the Questioner is due at the colony world of Newholme, and everyone is planning to lie to her. Given her record of sterilising worlds she disapproves of, whether for their social systems, or the way they treat aliens, who can blame them? The first colonists, male supremacist skinheads, simply disappeared; half the girl babies born die; a social structure of generous dowries and male concubines reflects the power this has given the ruling Hags; little people no-one will admit to seeing do most of the housework; the earthquakes are getting worse than ever. And why has the Questioner felt obliged to bring two choreographers with her? Sheri Tepper's tale of ideas, sexism and high adventure poses endless mysteries, and we read in the delighted confidence that she will give us the solution to all of them. The book is full of fascinating characters--the virtuous boy Mouche, trained in all the male sexual arts, Ornery, the girl who ran away to sea and the sinister Miss Marool with her death goddess and her sinister erotic machines. The puzzles of this elegant plot work through as inexorably as justice--Tepper's grim certainties are wonderfully intelligent. -- Roz KaveneyReview:
On The Family Tree:
‘Tepper has produced another work as witty, charming, deep-down serious and inventive as her classic Beauty, in this fable with an extra edge to it: a thorough-going relevance to our future.’
Science Fiction Age:
‘She is a compelling storyteller… wonderful characters, a compelling mystery and superb worldbuilding.’
‘Beautifully realized, full of delightful surprises and sparkling wit, this out-and-out charmer is unquestionably Tepper’s best work so far.’
Realms of Fantasy:
‘A perfectly marvellous book. It’s a pearl.’
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Book Description New York, Avon Books, 1998, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 6511872