Date: 15 March, 1998 — $6.29 — Book
Fiction, Science Fiction
When the cybs, rationalist cyborg people, come back to Earth after their exile ten thousand years before, the people of Earth, demis and draffs, know that trouble is coming. Yet according to their principles, they cannot even threaten; they must wait until overt violence occurs before they can react. So they elect a Coordinator to do the best planning they can under their principles— including the supplying of hospitality— so that they will be ready when the violence happens.
Yet even preparation for violence can be seen as a threat... and Earth's people's must live by their code, or they will die. So a Coordinator must balance all of these things along with the longing to prevent violence entirely, something very difficult when cybs reject emotion completely, and don't seem to understand how Earth has changed in the intervening millenia.
Modesitt is at his best when he allows himself to bring ethical problems into direct play, rather than cloaking them in thick fantasy. While I like his fantasy work, it is in his science fiction that he really shines, and this is no exception.