Purgatory A Chronicle of a Distant World MOBI ↠ A

Purgatory A Chronicle of a Distant World On the planet Karimon lives a race of intelligent beings descended from reptiles Like most intelligent beings in the galaxy they had not yet evolved beyond their stone age villages when the first shiploads of Men arrived to stake a claim on a virgin planetBut on Karimon there is a strong brilliant leader a chief who is able to understand that the new arrivals are not gods or demons but mortal beings And unlike the inhabitants of most primitive planets this leader also understood that Men had enemies too and that those enemies could be used to gain some measure of control over the human colonization of Karimon If only for a few short years


10 thoughts on “Purgatory A Chronicle of a Distant World

  1. Stephen Stephen says:

    Mike Resnick’s Galactic Comedy series comprising Paradise this book and Inferno A Chronicle of a Distant World is science fiction only at the most cosmetic level in the mold of classics like 1984 or The Dispossessed An Ambiguous Utopia Resnick's tales are eye opening and at times face slapping morality tales that describe in stark often brutal terms the cataclysmic changes that occur to an indigenous population when confronted by a technologically superior colonizing force These changes are permanent irreversible and seem inevitably to involve significant pain I think Resnick tells this kind of story as well or better as anyone writing today and I find myself wanting to proselytize his work and spread his good word Whereas Paradise retold the history of the Republic of Kenya Purgatory retells the violent mostly tragic history of Zimbabwe fka Rhodesia from 1888 to the present day It is with a profound sense of shame that I admit that I knew next to nothing about Zimbabwe’s history before reading this book It is with an even deeper sense of appreciation that I can now say I have a broad if cursory understanding of the tumultuous saga of this African country along with a fervent desire to learn Thank you Mr Resnick Thank you for your story telling skill your writing your knowledge Buy most of all thank you for your sincere deeply felt passion and for your willingness to share it PLOT SUMMARY Note that since this is really a re telling of the history of Zimbabwe and that history is well history the following description contain spoilers If you want to avoid this you can skip to the next BOLD section “MY THOUGHTS” Karimon is a mineral rich fertile world that is home to a tribal based technologically primitive race of reptilian like humanoids The dominant tribe known as the Tulabete is led by King Jalanopi who is an intelligent shrewd and very capable leader Jalanopi believes he can “out maneuver” this race of “Men” who have arrived on his world and hopes to manipulate them into providing him weapons and technology in order to crush his tribal enemies As clever as Jalanopi is he is completely unprepared for the resources tactics and experience that the Republic of Men an empire 40000 worlds strong can bring to bear and soon finds events spiraling out of his control From here we watch Karimon follow the all to familiar and recognizable process of commercial exploitation by private corporations that eventually leads to a series of doomed revolts by the local populace that is savagely put down Further settlement by colonists leading to severe institutional repression of the “snakes” as they are referred to by Man This repression leads both to internal terrorism and external pressure from the Republic of Man who condemn the actions of the private companygoverning body and call for freedom and self government for the Karimonians After further violent conflicts this freedom is eventually granted However rather than leading to happiness and prosperity for the Karimonians after all we are talking real life parallels here the grant of self government leads to a devastating and crushing decolonization by Man which leaves the newly formed government unable to properly meet the needs of its population Oh and the last line of the book is PERFECTION and stole my breath MY THOUGHTS Welcome back those of you who skipped the plot summary to remain spoiler freeMike Resnick has become one of my favorite authors mostly for his ability to consistently tell a good story While I really enjoy his light hearted space tales of rogues and scoundrels it is in his “issue tackling” work like Purgatory and Paradise that he really shines and messes me up inside Nowhere does he do this better than in his Africa themed fiction Resnick’s respect and love for Africa and his knowledge of its history seep into all aspects of this story However as I have said before what is most amazing and commendable about how he approaches these kinds of stories is that he never makes a moral judgment on behalf of his reader His stories have no ethical training wheels and he leaves the final verdict to you I think it makes the work and its effect on the reader much powerful To illustrate Resnick’s approach throughout this story there are atrocities and despicable actions taken by both sides of this conflict These brutalities include the sadistic torture and mutilation of prisoners to the razing and slaughtering of whole villages and much much Despite this morally reprehensible behavior there are no “mustache twirling” villains in this morality play That would be too easy Instead you have well drawn motivated and determined individuals pursuing courses of action they believe are “necessary” or “for the best” and for the most part “right” in the long run Whether they are correct or not if for you to determine and this judgment will not come from Resnick He gives you the story and makes you figure out for yourself how you feel about it I find that uniue and unbelievably appealing as a reader If you have never given Resnick a read whether because you don’t read SF shame on you or just haven’t come across his work before you really should At just over 300 pages this is a uick read and Resnick’s prose is easily digestible However the meaning passion and feelings that his story telling may conjure in you could linger for much longer 50 stars HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION


  2. Bill Bill says:

    I knew going into Purgatory that this story was an allegory for the British colonization of Zimbabwe I've read a few novels that have drawn on history particularly fantasy and even particularly Guy Gavriel Kay's magnificent Tigana and The Lions of Al Rassan which draw loosely on French and Italian historiesBut while Kay's works were rich character driven reads that would rip your heart out Purgatory read like a fable at timesAnd that's okay if that's what you're after Purgatory follows a planet's takeover by the arrogant Man and Man's negotiating his way with the inhabiting 'savages' in a way that would fool them into believing they are benefiting while they are totally being taken advantage ofThe story was interesting presenting the facts and developments as they happened but like I said it felt like I was reading a fable rather than a novel So I'm afraid Purgatory fell a bit flat for meIt didn't help matters that I read this immediately after Stephen King's 112263 which was one of the best books I've read in a long time and so a very tough act to followAnyways I was bent on rating Purgatory two stars because I was finding the developments interesting and it cheated my way to a historical lesson on Zimbabwe but the ending the last line actually was pretty great and that merited a bonus star


  3. Alice Lee Alice Lee says:

    Wow This is my very first Mike Resnick novel and Wow I just finished reading this half an hour ago and my mind is still reeling and I'm still having an emotional reactionI can't believe how under appreciated this novel is It is superbly written masterfully crafted and absolutely engrossingAs far as I can tell Resnick intended this novel to be a political allegory for African countries as he hinted not so subtly in the preface The science fiction background is a guise although a very well placed and convenient one What unfolds is a story we are all familiar with that has played out so many times in human history It has all the potential of being trite and preachy and believe you me I was skeptical going in So also believe me when I say it is anything but trite The execution is flawless Every single character is believable sympathetic and completely real The tale is told through several points of view spanning a reaching history and each perspective serve to show the reader different angles of the same story While I had feared that this techniue will end up making each character two dimensional and less believable it is absolutely not the case here There are clear bad guys and clear good guys and at the same time there isn't There are just people dreams and reality The story shows you the harsh face of reality with unflinching honesty and I really appreciate that We can point to specific countries and say this happened here and we can point to a different country or region and say this is going to happen here This isn't a book neatly wrapped up with a pretty moral of the story or a lesson or an empty promise and I really appreciate that as well


  4. Christopher Smith Christopher Smith says:

    I'll give Mike Resnick this Purgatory is the most uniue sci fi novel I've read recently The book chronicles the colonization of an alien world by the human race It draws heavily from the history of Britain's colonization of Africa Each section of the book covers an epoch of this history so that it reads like seven interrelated novellas rather than a single coherent novel Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the book is that there are no clear good guys or bad guys; Purgatory is a tale that embraces ambiguity and that refuses to paint good and evil in the stark black and white terms employed by most fiction The novel also has a somewhat tragic surprise ending which I won't spoil here Suffice to say it was uite effective If I had to describe this book in one word it would be smart I'm not sure though that it will satisfy most readers of science fiction It does not fit the usual action packed escapist mold it abandons characters just as soon as the reader begins to get invested in them and the writing is frankly somewhat lackluster It is light on descriptive detail which makes for a clean and unencumbered narrative but which also inhibits the reader from entering fully into the universe Resnick has imagined I walked away from the book feeling pleased but a little unsatisfied


  5. Michael Michael says:

    I have read several of Mike Resnick's books and enjoyed them all I enjoyed this book also but it is very different than any others I have read by Mike Resnick First of all Purgatory an allegory for the British colonization of Zimbabwe Second of all it shows how greed corrupts anyone human or alien Purgatory follows a planet's takeover by humans and the negotiating with the native savages in a way that would fool them into believing they are benefiting while they are totally being taken advantage of The savages are much smarter than the humans give them credit for and after many years of being taken advantage of by the humans they educate themselves and take back control of their planet Unfortunately mankind has set things up where the planet can't be run at it's current level of prosperity without human control and after only a few years the savages are savages once again


  6. Michel Meijer Michel Meijer says:

    When I read this book was based on Britishwestern colonization of ZimbabweRhodesiaAfrica the magic of the story was gone Translate africans to aliens Zimbabwe into Karamon the big 5 into some strange animals and Man as Man and tell the story of white oppression and freedom rebellion and you have the book There is hardly any added value of the Glactic environment technology the plot was barely interesting and the characters plain and dull 2 stars


  7. Joel Nichols Joel Nichols says:

    Mike Resnick books are such good reads Will always pick one up


  8. Kay Iscah Kay Iscah says:

    Purgatory is essentially a long extended metaphor for the BritishEuropean occupation of Africa Unfortunately it's not uite on the same metaphoric level as Animal Farm Resnick gets a little too caught up in his idea and forgets to tell a storyAnd while everything else gets some metaphoric paint slapped on it Christian missionaries are left intact trying to convert the aliens to Christianity this element almost docked Resnick down to a 2 He secured a 3 mainly because he had a good ending line than managed to tie all the disjointed pieces togetherIt's a personal pet peeve of mine to see authors drag out priests who can't defend their faith with the sort of uestions a first year theology student should be able to tackle just so the author can easily mock Christianity It's hard to say if it's lazy or insulting On one hand there are men in missionaryspiritual leader roles who can't intellectually defend their faith so on a purely character level I can accept a guy like McFarley a missionary with uncanny access to the upper levels of galactic government but as a symbolic figure he's just wrong on so many levelsIt bothers me on spiritual level but it also bothers me because it's just sloppy metaphor It would be like one the pigs in Animal Farm announcing his commitment to the Communist Party it breaks a fifth wall that just shouldn't be broken I have issues with the Foreword for the same reason even though it may be the best short story in the book It's Resnick explaining his metaphor which kind of defeats the whole idea of a metaphorBut at the same time I understand why he does Because if you don't realize it's an extended metaphor it would be just flat out boring seemingly pointless political mess There are no characters only caricaturesThe cover is misleading Spaceships barely come into play The whole book is bound mainly to a single planet which reads as a very earth like third world country with a thin veneer This is not by any stretch pure entertainment or rollicking nor is it a solid story It belongs in the same category as Harafish a lengthy extended metaphor that pokes fun at the absurdities of a culturehistoryonly Harafish did a better job of staying metaphoricOn one hand it's a much meatier read than I was expecting and there's a dark biting humor that pervades throughout Certainly some good insights but at times the insights feel a bit juvenileEnd judgment is that it is worth a read through but it frustrates me because I feel like it could have been so much better than it was


  9. Bryan Thomas Schmidt Bryan Thomas Schmidt says:

    Recently read Mike Resnick's 1993 book Purgatory the first in a three book series What a great read I couldn't put it down As you may know Resnick is one of the most prolific and successful of Science Fiction writers His books and stories have appeared everywhere What you may not know is that Resnick like myself has a passion for Africa and he uses it a lot in his work We have corresponded and chatted about this and he sent me several stories but this book is topsPurgatory is the story of Karimon a distant planet rich in minerals discovered by a Republic who then try and colonize it and exploit its mineral wealth They are opposed by local tribal leader Janalopi and a Republic missionary both of whom are eventually brushed aside by the colonists with total disregardAs the colony develops and the natives become and frustrated with their low status and living conditions and the loss of 90% of their land they start to protest eventually launching a guerilla rebellion The Republic leaders brush it off as minor nuisance but eventually find themselves slowly becoming overwhelmed A new breed of native leader educated in Republic schools and aware of Republic culture take over the rebellion and lead their people with new strengthThe book is rich with flavor and strong characterization The story centers around Karimoni and Colonist characters from various eras in the planet's development and their interactions Resnick uses African history here to address injustices and issues often ignored in an outer space setting The best science fiction uses the futuristic settings technology etc to teach us or remind us of something about ourselves or our past and Resnick does that here to great effectPurgatory is one of the best reads I've found in science fiction so far and I look foward to reading his follow up books Paradise and Inferno very soon Highly recommended For what it's worth


  10. Craig Craig says:

    Resnick's Galactic Comedy seuence is comprised of three novels Paradise Purgatory and Inferno On the surface they're chronicles of distant worlds as the blurbs proclaim but they're actually allegorical studies of post colonial modern Africa; he examines all of the problems of the cultures the economies the tribal factions the politics and so on and on Just when the reader thinks that things can't get any worse it does moving from Kenya in the first volume to Zimbabwe in the second and ending in Uganda I learned a lot from these books than I ever did in a sociology class The stories don't have neat endings or solutions because they're so tightly tied to our real world but they're among Resnick's very best work


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