A lost science fiction classic!
Birk Aaland is a political outcast from Earth's tyranny, and has been living for years on a planet inhabited solely by robots, ever since his ship crashed here.Now another ship has crashed, and there is again a single survivor -- a woman who's desperate to warn Earth of an alien invasion.But Birk is perfectly happy with his current exile -- until a twist of fate intervenes, causing each of them to re-evaluate their lives and their total existence.
Tropes: Abandoned Place, Alien Artifacts, Good Robots, Lost Civilization, Marooned
Word Count: 87700
Setting: Deserted alien world
Languages Available: English
Toni on https://www.amazon.com/review/R1GSV6PS77S5W4/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R1GSV6PS77S5W4 wrote:
The story gains an emotionality that justifies calling Goldin an artist, not merely a writer.
Mitchell Glodek on https://www.amazon.com/review/R1BED01030T7EV/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R1BED01030T7EV wrote:
As a woman, it was interesting to enter the mind of a man- and understanding it!
The main character was broken- a hero and a villan all in one. A man who is not meant to be judged but understood. He is truly a reflection of humanity.
But this book is not over philosophical or preachy. Its a fantastic adventure. Prefect for any escapist. The made-up world is so clearly shown with just enough ambiguity for the mind to make it its own.
Never boring this book has a wonderful pace. And is anything but cliched. As soon as you think it will be a cliche- it uses what you think you know against you. The character is beyond generalizing and is truly a whole person.
This book reminds me of The Godfather (the book not the movive) except in sci-fi terms.
Scientist Birk Aaland is a castaway, living alone on an alien planet covered with the deserted cities of a technologically advanced but now extinct civilization, his only companions the millions of robots that quixotically keep the cities operating. Years of solitude, and memories of terrible abuses at the hands of Earth's tyrannical government, have disordered Aaland's mind, and his sanity receives further shocks when another human arrives on the planet with news that the Earth's space empire is under attack by ruthless aliens.
A World Called Solitude has some of the standard adventure and SF elements (space ships, ray guns, robots, strange aliens, warfare) but is primarily a psychological, even philosophical, novel that focuses on people's states of mind and on the relationships of people with each other and with society. Each of the half dozen or so characters (men, women, robots, and aliens) in the novel has an opinion of what he or she owes society and to other individuals, and each character has to make a choice of how to act in relation to others in a stressful situation and then live with the consequences of that decision. There are many (maybe too many) scenes in which people under emotional stress weep or "flip out," and many scenes in which people have emotional arguments.
Goldin tries to do something interesting here, and his writing style is reasonably good, so A World Called Solitude is a worthwhile read. I will likely try some other specimens of his work in the future. I read the 1981 hardcover from Doubleday with the regrettably generic, boring, and inapplicable cover art by Jan Esteves.