**A compelling retelling, SF "distant world" style, of the modern history of the Republic of Kenya.** I LIKE MIKE...Resnick. Once "discovered" by mankind, the planet's riches are heavily exploited and the indigenous population (who come to be known as Pepons) are subjugated...you know, for their own good. The novel is told through the viewpoint of a journalist turned author named Matthew Breen, who writes a series of books chronicling the history of Peponi beginning with the initial colonization, through the subjugation and foreign exploitation of the planet and finally through several successive Pepon "home rule" government administrations. What I found so brilliant and well done was that Resnick tells the stories of these people (colonists, ex-patriots, governors, natives) in their own words and NEVER, NEVER passes judgment.
In this relatively short novel, Resnick quite impressively retells the history of Kenya, but this time in a far future sci-fi setting, substituting the distant planet of Peponi for the African country and an interesting race of tribal humanoid aliens for Kenyans. This is reinforces the fact that he is one of the most awarded science fiction authors of all time, mainly for short fiction but I've found his novels to be some of the best from the sci-fi genre that I can name.
Tutta la storia è narrata in prima persona dal protagonista, uno scrittore che racconterà in più libri del pianeta e dei protgonisti della sua storia.
Some books are just good reads. In trying to imitate James Joyce, they perhaps write a meaningful book, but one which is work rather than a pleasure to read. Paradise is about Peponi, a distant world, rich in wildlife and populated by a people without a high degree of technology before it is "discovered" by mankind. Upon independence, most men leave the planet for distant shores and dream their dreams of the paradise that Peponi once was. The book begins with an interview with August Hardwyke in his last years, one of the old-timers who remembers when Peponi when men first came, when he felt it truly was a paradise, wild and free. After his book about the early pioneers is successful, Breen interviews Peponi ex-patriots, men and women who lived through the native uprisings. On the surface level, Paradise is a fun read. I did not want the mistakes made by the European colonial powers and the native Africans to be repeated on Peponi. Just as Breen is described as having been neutral in his retelling of the story or Peponi, so Resnick does not let his personal views on Kenya be known. For those who want something more out of a book, Paradise also fits the bill.
The main woman character in the story is based on Karen Blixen, author of "Out of Africa" ( under the pen name of Isak Dinesen ) and Buko is based on Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of the Republic of Kenya. Does Mike Resnick offer any hope for Peponi or the real Africa? I think throughout his story he presents us with some remarkable characters showing the human spirit at its best, a spirit which may be able to overcome seemingly hopeless odds in the end.
Fourteen years after that Matthew returns to Peponi to do research for a followup book. The wags are trying to go from savages with no written history to galactic citizens in just a generation or two.
The stories don't have neat endings or solutions because they're so tightly tied to our real world, but they're among Resnick's very best work.
He is, according to Locus, the all-time leading award winner, living or dead, for short science fiction.