by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Animalis, by John Peter Jones
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, October 2014, trade paperback $12.99 (330 pages), Kindle $0.99.
Animalis begins with 17-year-old pod pilot Jax Minette, his same-age best friend and commanding officer Hank Schneps, and two other pod pilots being launched into low orbit to intercept a space plane controlled by a rat Animalis.
“At the end of the sparring field, the path turned and joined a road running through the middle of the small base, passing the armory and storehouse. Jax tilted his head up to gaze at the launch shaft of the base’s airport disappearing into the clouds. It was used to sling space planes almost to low orbit, saving thousands of pounds of fuel. It was a magnificent sight. The honey comb pattern of the beams started wide at the brightly lit base and rose up to a slender point a thousand feet in the air, like a giant had pinched the metal and dragged it into the sky.
The view was cut off as they entered the hangar beside the launch shaft and continued walking toward the Hornet. The barracks, the mess hall, the officers quarters, and the command center were all part of the Hornet – a monstrous space plane with two pod bays, four turrets, and room to house forty men.” (p. 8)
Mankind is fighting for survival against the Animalis. The Animalis are all vicious killers.
“Arena fights – Two Animalis fighting to the death. Not just to the death, but till the loser was devoured. Or worse, till the body was thrown into the crowd of Animalis watching in the stands, and they devoured the loser. The Animalis were still mostly animals, and animals needed to hunt. It was better than Animalis hunting on the streets, as long as you didn’t have to watch it.” (p. 21)
The Animalis are supposed to be savage, feral animals. Then how do they build arenas? How do they build space planes and put them into orbit? But they are clearly hostile to humans: