The Suns of Scorpio

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Suns of Scorpio by Alan Burt Akers:

When Bulmer (whose pseudonym Akers was) wrote this second of the Dray Prescott books, he presumably already intended to write at least a few more, if not the dozens that eventually transpired. Evidence for this is in the highly irregular narrative structure of The Suns of Scorpio. It starts out conventionally enough, with hero Prescott’s return by mystical transport to the Antarean planet, and his integration into a society and region of Kregen that he hadn’t encountered before. In the middle, however, a major section of the story is omitted, on the grounds of loss of some of the cassettes from which the story is supposed to have been transcribed. Also, the story ends on the moment before its narrative climax, as Bulmer is evicted from the planet, presumably back to Earth, but without explanation or epilogue. The “missing tapes” section seems as if it may have been a device to avoid writing an erotic passage without impugning the frankness of Prescott as a memoirist. The ending, however, is clearly part of a slow development of evidence regarding the intentions of the still-mysterious Star Lords and the enigmatic Savanti.

The Suns of Scorpio takes place within a polarized backwater civilization on an inland sea, somewhat isolated from the Kregish political powers of Prescott’s prior adventures. The two dominant nations of this part of the planet each worship a different one of the two suns of the Antarean system, and they are locked in a longstanding cool war characterized by sporadic piracy and rapine aimed at client cities. Prescott’s experience with more sophisticated Terrestrial technologies of seafaring and warfaring serves him in good stead in this volume.

Even more than in the first book, Prescott’s narrative voice emphasizes a wiser-but-sadder reflection on his younger adventures. But like Transit to Scorpio, it is a fast read, and it shows ever-so-incremental progress toward a grander structure that will make sense of these episodes in which Prescott serves as a catalyst for political upheaval. As an extra complication, he is inducted into an initiatory society which furnishes him with superior martial disciplines, and claims his allegiance in circumstances that would require his return to the worshippers of the red sun. [via]



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