Pamela Sargent:The Sudden Star

This is the first Sargent I've read. It won't be my last, but only because I harbour a vague curiosity about Venus of Dreams.

The book seems more aimed at depicting a dystopic future world than advancing any kind of plot. Thus, we have doctors forbidden to treat hereditary diseases in hopes that they'll die out, a group trying to keep technological knowledge alive but dying from the inside, cities trying very hard to keep out the poor, etc. We also have a disease, causing eventual psychosis in most who contract it.

Our main characters are a doctor cast out of his home city for illegally treating diabetes and a young prostitute who stays with him for lack of a better alternative; neither of them are particularly sympathetic, and they are sometimes downright scummy.

Most of the book is spent watching them wander from New York down to Miami, in very episodic chunks. In Miami, the plot starts to develop slightly, but then they have to flee again... There is a small resolution of sorts at the end; the rest of the plot threads have died away.

Perhaps I'm being unkind, but I kept waiting for the book to grab me, and it did so very rarely. I'll have to hope that Sargent has done better elsewhere, else I won't bother looking for anything else by her.

I'll give it a 6/10 overall.

%A Sargent, Pamela
%T The Sudden Star
%I Fawcett Gold Medal
%C New York
%D Copyright 1979
%G ISBN 0-449-14114-4
%P 285 pp.
%O Paperback, US $1.95

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