07.04.04 | Claudia Borralho
Este é o livro de ficção cientifica da MZB que eu mais adorei. Aqui fica uma review da Amazon: A species devoted to hunting the most dangerous game..., December 29, 2002 Reviewer: Michele L. Worley (see more about me) from Kingdom of the Mouse, United States Paul Edwin Zimmer, Bradley's brother, was initially an uncredited co-author. The lack of recognition wasn't Bradley's idea, and Zimmer was credited from the first on their sequel, _The Survivors_. The protagonist, Dane Marsh, is a lone wolf heroic type Zimmer wrote very well, along the lines of his character Roger Hogg in "The Hand of Tyr" (see _Greyhaven_). Marsh is a romantic born between romantic ages; he wants adventures, but in the late twentieth century, the world's fresh out. Every place has been explored, and somebody else has already been first to do anything worth doing. He saves his envy for whoever'll be first to hike around the Moon on foot, though, and gets on with his life - sailing around the world alone, even though it's been done. At that point, a flying saucer kidnaps him right off his boat, and he learns that there may be a few more adventures left, after all. :) The proto-feline Mekhar are notorious for their slave-raids, having refused Unity membership several times rather than repudiate the practice. Slaves being luxury goods, it pays to avoid damaging the merchandise, and even to install translator disks in their captives - although the Mekhar leave Dane's fellow prisoners to explain the situation. (Interestingly enough, proto-simians - humanlike beings - far from being lords of creation, are looked down upon, being perpetually "in season" and thus slaves of their sexual appetites. Superiority lies elsewhere: the proto-felines invented interstellar travel, and the proto-saurians generally look down on *everybody*. Aratak, the follower of the Divine Egg who befriends Dane, is an exception to this last.) Dane's the only prisoner from Earth; the others figure somebody's being chewed out for grabbing a boat carrying less than a dozen people. Rianna's archeological team, for example, lost their gamble that the Mekhar wouldn't hit the otherwise deserted satellite they were working on. Until Dane's arrival, nobody tried to escape more than once; not only are all the odds on the guards' side, but severe injuries may be a death sentence. Most of the prisoners have a fatalistic attitude that Dane violently disagrees with; he alone, for instance, interferes with the decision of the only captive from Spica IV, the empath Dallith, to refuse food and let herself die. (Oddly enough, while Aratak, the giant proto-saurian philosopher, remains silent, the vibrant Rianna protests Dane's interference, for reasons he comes to understand only much later.) Dane is the one who, spotting a security hole, masterminds an escape attempt - only to learn that it was just what the Mekhar were waiting for. The final part of the Mekhar's standard operating procedure is to skim off the ringleaders in their escape-attempt test on each raid, and to sell them to the species known as the Hunters of the Red Moon for the role of Sacred Prey. The Hunters' only interest in life is to hunt the Most Dangerous Game: intelligent quarry, who can give them a challenge. Every batch of Sacred Prey is given some weeks to prepare on the Hunters' World before being taken to the Red Moon, and must survive there only until the next eclipse. They're even given a choice of weapons, short of firearms, but even that's disquieting; the Armory doubles as a huge trophy collection of the weapons of particularly excellent Prey. (In a really *cool* scene, Dane recognizes one weapon as the most perfect Mataguchi he's ever seen - something a samurai would *never* have left behind.) The story revolves around Dane, as protagonist, and his fellow survivors Rianna, Dallith, and Aratak, with one startling addition: Cliff-Climber, a Mekhar guard who screwed up badly during the escape attempt, and took this option as an honorable alternative to suicide. While he knows more about the Hunters than any of the others, his proto-feline people take the proverb "curiosity killed the cat" very much to heart, and even though - he *says* - one of his own kinsmen survived a Hunt, he knows little about their destination. Dane and his companions have little more than the Hunters' word that successful quarry will be rewarded and allowed to leave. They don't even know what the Hunters look like; until the Hunt itself, the Sacred Prey only interact with robot caretakers, leading to a *lot* of theories among the Prey. This is a mystery as well as an adventure story; only the last third covers the Hunt proper, the rest being split evenly between the slaveship and the Prey's prep time. Dane and the others must try to figure out the Hunters, knowing that the odds are against them. At the feast celebrating the end of the previous Hunt and the beginning of theirs, they learn that 47 Hunters faced 74 Prey. Nineteen Hunters perished. *One* Sacred Prey survived.