Science Fiction & Fantasy Review, No. 17, September 1983, p. 30.
Henderson, Dan. Paradise. Tor/Pinnacle, NY, April 1983. 314 p. $2.95, paper. ISBN 0-523-48549-2.
The Nothing Makers, beings of pure thought living among the stars, are alarmed by poisonous “radiation waves” (radio and TV) coming from Earth. Some want to end the problem by turning off the sun. Orion, a “bleeding light,” argues a better solution would be to convert humanity from physical to mental beings. Selected humans are reduced to mental templates, “microed and microed again,” then “fired in the heart of a black hole.” After this transformation, the no-longer-humans are sent to the not-quite-place Paradise to mature — but some humans don’t like Paradise. Their racial and sexual passions lead to conflicts with the Nothing Makers, and a battle for Earth’s survival.
Henderson’s characters are generally well developed and interesting, but his poor grasp of science and logic (and invention of new verbs) make hash of the theme: what is the nature and destiny of humanity? Far better treatments of this question may be found in countless works, including Clarke’s thirty year old classic, Childhood End. — Lawrence I. Charters