Michael Bishop
Transfigurations Cover

Dark & Disturbing Mix of SF & Horror



Dark & disturbing. Part science-fiction and part horror. I may never shed my mind of the concept of 'meat-sibling'. Ugh!

Despite the horrific subject matter, this is a well-written and very atmospheric story about one of the strangest alien races I've ever read about in science-fiction. Humanoid but without vocal speech, the Asadi communicate mostly with light waves using their multi-chromatic eyes. Exhibiting an incomprehensible, (at first), and extremely rigid social structure, the Asadi are an unsolvable puzzle to the humans that are there to study them.

The first part of the story is told via the journal of an anthropologist who has mingled with the aliens and participated in their strange rituals. After he 'goes native' and disappears, his daughter travels from Earth to find him and to also attempt to decipher the mystery of the Asadi.

This was almost a four-star read for me. What reduced the rating is mostly the pace. While the writing style is very, very good, the story dragged a bit in places. It took me a while to get into the book. Once I reached the halfway mark, it really started to pick up and moved quickly toward the conclusion.

The other issue I had was with the reactions of the characters. Especially Elegy, the daughter of the missing anthropologist. There are moments of extreme horror where, instead of reacting with emotion, she clinically and casually explains her view of what it means to the other characters in the scene. Her lack of emotional response rang a bit false at times.

These are minor complaints though. Overall, despite some of the more horrific elements, I really liked this book. Bishop has quite the twisted imagination - and I can appreciate that! :)