Like a Newly Found Heinlein Book - POINT ULTIMATE by Jerry Sohl
Apr 20, 2012 [permalink]
I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading Point Ultimate — I felt, wow, this is like finding Heinlein's Have Spacesuit, Will Travel or Farnham's Freehold in an attic if they hadn't been published before. You know, like how they find a "new" Mozart or Beethoven piece in a trunk somewhere.
Of course, Jerry Sohl was extremely popular at one time, as evidenced by his having over 20 books and having written tons of scripts for Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, various movies, etc. You don't get 20+ books published by the major publishers without being good.
That he hasn't remained as well known as his peers is unfortunate, and just shows you how hard it is to remain in the public eye without a lot of behind-the-scenes marketing by an agent, public appearances, etc. (Which is now more difficult since Jerry Sohl himself passed away 10 years ago.)
So I'm really glad ReAnimus Press is able to bring all his works back into circulation (see www.JerrySohl.com ), because they're actually good stuff. He's got works in a lot of genres, Point Ultimate being one of his SF pieces. It's set in the future, after the Enemy has taken over the world, and maintains control by releasing a lethal virus, then forcing everyone to get a monthly antidote injection, lest they die a horrible, painful death without it. Like all science fiction more than, say, a year old :) there are some very minor dated aspects — however, I found it extremely easy to look past those and continue the delightful suspension of disbelief; they're not integral to the plot so you can easily substitute one sort of Enemy for another. Sohl was actually quite adept at writing fiction that aged well. In fact, the Enemy are never actually named at all, and except for an occasional use of a certain curse word it's not even mentioned who exactly the Enemy is, so the story works just as well as if they are any conquering nation or aliens. The future he envisioned is still, surprisingly, one that feels like it could come to be, given the circumstances. It has that "feeling of the future" that I personally love about SF, and the tech envisioned in this future is still stuff that we don't have today — but generally wish we did. The story is about tyranny of any kind and especially about enforcing it with technology, so it's even more relevant today than when it was written.
In terms of style it feels very much like a Heinlein juvie — which I count as high praise, considering how beloved Heinlein is. (I don't mean Sohl was trying to emulate him, it's just how it feels when I read it, as in, cool.)
Or put another way, if you enjoy Heinlein, you'll enjoy Point Ultimate. One of the fun aspects of launching ReAnimus Press has been that I get to read a bunch of books I wouldn't necessarily have run across otherwise. This is one of those, so I wanted to share it with you and recommend it.
It's available from the ReAnimus Press store at:
and from Amazon at:
I hope you enjoy it!