In Man Plus, a human being is modified to live on Mars. In Downward to the Earth, a man is modified to reflect the transformations in his soul. Long sentences do not interfere inordinately with the fascinating world of Belzagor. The only downside is that I guessed the planet’s secret because Orson Scott Card daintily stole the concept of transformation for Speaker for the Dead. I would be quite surprised if Mr. Silverberg, who is in his eighties and living in beautiful Montclair in Oakland, is on speaking terms with The Great Orson over that transgression.
The setting of the world nods to The Drowned World and Heart of Darkness both. The thought that went into its mobile, predatory foliage and fauna pleased me greatly, so much so that I’m not sure if the characters weren’t interesting, or weren’t as interesting. The book is paced beautifully, and I read it in two days. I will study it further in regard to its pacing, so I’m very glad I bought an expensive and beautiful “SF Masterworks Millennium” paperback addition. (Were I extremely wealthy, I would have the entire collection. They’re so cool.)
This story offers up information when you need it, just as you need it. It makes reading a satisfying and quick experience. That can’t be taken lightly.