source for free and affordable eBooks


Powered by FreeFind

Site search
Web search

    Review of TIDES by Scott Mackay (see his website)

    Pyr, November 2005

    Hab burns with the urge to explore, to learn more about the world he lives in. When a scientist discovers that a volcano is errupting somewhere distant, Hab resolves to find this new land--despite the legends that hold that there is only one land. He is so driven, he breaks every rule that his civilization has set in order to construct first a fleet of ships, then a trio of submarines, to explore. Exploration isn't easy. Huge 'Tides,' moon-driven waves, swamp any ship that attempts to cross the open spaces in the deep sea. Still, Hab is a problem solver and inventor. If anyone can get around natural goals, he is the man for it.

    Hab, along with the survivors from his venture, reach a strange continent. Unlike his own continent, where nature was bountiful, the new land is harsh and hungry. But it is inhabited by intelligent creatures--creatures with violent warlike habits, but also intelligent creatures who just might hold clues to the great mystery of Hab's own civilization--a message in undecyphered text that has challenged his people for tens of thousands of years. Hab turns his problem-solving to helping the alien species. With agriculture, they might be better able to survive the harsh conditions of their continent.

    Author Scott Mackay tells an interesting story of a meeting between species. Neither the alien species nor Hab's people can begin to understand each other--their lives and fundamental beliefs are completely at odds. The huge tides have kept them apart throughout history, but Hab's inventions mean that continued contact is likely. What form that contact will take is something that Hab will need to influence. I thought at first that Mackay was creating a sort of SHOGUN IN SPACE but his story took a quite different turn.

    Hab makes an interesting and complex character. His attempts to justify his lying, embezzlement, and violence as serving a higher truth are clearly just justifications, but Hab never seems to recognize this. I think Mackay missed a chance when he failed to consider how integrating 'liars' into the culture would create stresses rather than merely opportunities. Finally, the climactic scene where Hab finally learns the truth about the great message seems a bit obvious to me. Still, Mackay's strong writing and the basic alien-first-contact plot line definitely kept me reading.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 1/11/06

    Ready to buy it? Click the button:

    Want to learn more?
    Click this link and see more reviews, similar books, and other Amazon information on TIDES from

    Rather buy it from Barnes and Noble?
    Click this link for TIDES from Barnes and

    Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name. Banner Exchange