Review: Catherine Asaro, Primary Inversion (sf novel)

Alan P. Scott - Rants - Reviews


The dust jacket for the hardback edition of Primary Inversion, by Catherine Asaro, seems designed to make one think it's an attempt at high littrachur, perhaps put out by a small press that generally publishes experimental novels about angst-ridden proles. The cover uses a large amount of white space and a subdued color scheme... text is in simple fonts and the artwork is abstract; the front includes a quote from Joan Slonczewski, author of A Door Into Ocean, in which she states that the book is "An entertaining romantic adventure... The characters are intense and spirited."

Don't believe it. This book is pulp, even if the cover isn't.

I like it.

Space battles, planet-annihilating orbiting platforms, genetic engineering for psychic powers, super-computers that work instantaneously across Galaxy-spanning Nets, three-count-'em-three Space Empires (Okay, two Empires and one Alliance), gobbledygook rays and "psiberspace," lost colonies and space academies - even the title refers to a faster-than-light drive explained with almost Campbellian gusto and jargon by an author described on the inside back flap as a physicist.

Oh, yeah, and there is a star-crossed romance. And the characters really are "intense and spirited." It's not all pulp. But mostly. And ya know, today, I think that's a GOOD thing.

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Portions of this review were quoted (with permission) on the American Booksellers Association web site, in a May 1995 article entitled "Making it in the Mainstream," although that article no longer seems to be extant.

More information about Catherine Asaro's books is available at

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This document was last updated December 31, 1999.

©1995, 1998, 1999 Alan P. Scott. All rights reserved.

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