Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Genre Character of the Week:Colonel Mack Tavernor

Over the last few days I’ve been reading the 1969 novel The Palace of Eternity by Bob Shaw, a science fiction novel taking place on the planet Mnemosyne (an artist’s colony) and taking place during a war with a strange alien race called the Syccans. Our main character (and our genre character of the week) is Colonel Mack Tavernor.

Tavernor is introduced to the reader as a repair man living in a colony of artists, musicians, and poets. He is 49 years old, and keeps many of the planets indigenous creatures in his home as pets. Throughout the novel we learn of his childhood (he was a lone survivor of a planet-wide Syccan attack at age eight) and his military career, as well as the events leading to his current situation.

The novel has a lot of obvious parallels with later SF books, namely Ender’s Game, and Falling Free (from my point of view), and Tavernor is definitely one of my personal favourite kind of genre characters; the working-Joe just trying to mind his own business and live a quiet life who gets swept up in something huge.

I don’t want to go into too many spoilers of the novel, but trust me, Mack’s journey is a pretty major one, and it had me intrigued, excited and honestly shocked at various points throughout. Although the book may require you to make a trip to your local used-book store, it is definitely worth the trip.

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