It's been a while since I found something that made science fiction as much fun as Alan Dean Foster's Flinx in Flux. It was space dramas filled with the coolest, most interesting characters - series like V, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and Star Wars - that first got me into this genre. I truly enjoyed this book.
Featuring the mysterious 19 year old hero, Flinx, Flinx in Flux is a book that, while standing alone, continues a domino series with this mopey hero. Others include For Love of Mother-Not, The Tar-Aiym Krang, Orphan Star, The End of the Matter and Bloodhype. I haven't read any of these yet - I never read any Foster at all actually until now. But I'm hoping there's some more of his work on my bookshelf - there very well could be.
Flinx is a hero I would have liked to grow up to be when I was kid. Unfortunately I'm at the point where I'd have to grow down these days. He's witty, sarcastic, mysterious - he's fucking cool. He's amazingly smart, has powers of the mind and even has a flying miniature and highly poisonous dragon as a pet. How fucking cool is that?
Throughout the story you'll be introduced to interesting and wonderful characters - Clarity, the supra-intelligent yet non-common-sense holding genetic engineer. Head thinker of company Coldstripe, and stationed on an unsettled (and unsettling) outpost world for study and research. The obviously-nasty and evil old bitch Vandervort, head of the Coldstripe group on Longtunnel. The brusque, moody and possibly mad Maybeso, who can pop up whenever you're not looking. And sometimes when you are.
Throughout the book Foster riddles the text with calls to the past books where Flinx starred. Therefore even those who haven't read any of the Flinx series at all will find themselves following along wonderfully - but I warn you that you'll be hard pressed to not want to pick up the rest of the series as well, so don't do it around exam time. I actually spent one night finishing the book until 4 in the morning. Solid hours' worth of reading. So it's definitely a grabber.
The ending is catastrophically awesome. Amazingly unexpected. And I'm hoping very hard that there are Flinx books following Flinx in Flux, because the storyline is leading up to some really good stuff. Flinx is a character that is, while a bit whiny, all gold hearted and you can't help but root for him throughout. From the jungles of Alaspin to the storm-racked surface and underground caverns of Longtunnel, you're constantly lead through great adventures. Foster even closes the book with a timeline that covers a billion years of his created universe in which Flinx and his friends live, piquing your interest further in the milieu and series.
Hardcore thinkers won't be left out either, as the book will touch upon sociology and do so quite strongly at the end. The near-sightless and furry Sumacra of Longtunnel, who despite having no language beyond thought-projected emotions, get along quite well and, to some, might be considered near-Utopian. The awesomely intelligent yet amazingly ignorant Ujurrians from a world banned by the galactic Church. You'll find a lot of intellectual meat here, even though the cover might look a bit cliché.
But as they say, you can't judge a book by its cover. I was heavily reminded of this throughout the entire read, as I enjoyed the antics and adventures of one of the coolest fucking teens I've found yet. Douglas Adams meets Star Wars meets Tom Robbins. It's good stuff.
"Flinx in Flux" by Alan Dean Foster
Published by Balantine Books
Copyright © 1988 by Alan Dean Foster