by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
This title is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only.
“Rose LaCroix is proud to present her most anticipated novel, where psychedelic science fiction, historical fiction, and alternate timelines come together in a suspenseful, mind-bending masterpiece.” (back-cover blurb) Well, it’s certainly her most ambitious novel.
Edward “Red Ned” Arrowsmith is a red fox British aerospace engineer in an anthropomorphic 1939, where the world is not preparing for World War II but is engaged in a race to establish the first permanent Lunar colony. Ned is the chief engineer at Bristol Lunar, the firm that supplies the hardware for the British space program. A manned Lunar landing has already been accomplished; now the race is on to build a permanent base. The Americans, the British, the Germans, the Japanese, and the Soviets are all in peacetime competition, but they don’t pretend that it’s friendly.
One day the commander of the Royal Air Force Lunar Expeditionary Force pays a surprise visit to Red Ned’s office. He’s needed to go on a secret mission to the moon. Does he accept? Ned guesses so, but when? Right now – the commander (an otter in a RAF officer’s uniform) will drive Ned to the dirigible airfield to get a flight to the launch site immediately. “‘We’ll have time to stop by your house so you can bring a change of clothes but we have to be on the RAS Empress of India by no later than four o’clock pip-emma. That is, if you choose to accept this mission.’” (p. 15)
I suppose that if you can accept talking anthropomorphized animals, a secret mission where one is called upon to become a member of a Lunar mission at a moment’s notice with no training is no problem. But it fatally weakened any aura of believability for me. After that, The Vimana Incident became for me just a fast-moving amateur secret-agent/science-fiction adventure with a funny-animal cast. Until about halfway through, where it becomes very much more than that … Read the rest of this entry »