I once read a novel in which one of the characters was said to “know the difference between the right bracelet, an amusing imitation of the right bracelet and a tasteless copy of the right bracelet.” Unfortunately Soul Wars belongs squarely in the category of the tasteless copy.
The characters are two dimensional, the plot hackneyed and the story not particularly compelling. The female characters in this supposedly advanced society still prepare and clean up all the food and drink whether they are at their home or not. One of the female characters, Talia is very well-endowed and wears the sort of brief clothing usually associated with male fantasies of what alien women should wear in the early science fiction stories. Most of the men are described as being very tall – over six feet in height with long blond hair – very Aryan.
The primary plot is about a race of super-human beings who have learned to leave their bodies – hence the title, Soul Wars. After the hero and heroine get together in about the second or third chapter (he being very tall and with long hair and she being well-endowed and wearing a very brief costume as previously described) a group of these beings travel to earth to share, to their knowledge of how to leave the body and travel as a ‘soul’. They find, to their horror, that the earth is being controlled by a very few men who own all the oil, all the banks, the government, most of the money and have stolen patents which would help people to stop using oil for everything. Sound familiar? Here are some of the examples the following is the Talasians attitude toward earth:
“Earth?” thought the Talasian captain aloud. “What would you say their S/I levels are?”
Although S/I was not properly the comm officer’s hat, the captain was sure he would have some impression of the Sanity/Industrial index from listening to their conversations with each other… Gunther looked up at the captain. “Look here, Cap. It looks as if it was on Talasia a hundred years ago. They seem to have secret groups running the show—financial and political.”
There are a dozen or more families that make up this group. However, the Withermites are the chief family in charge. They have acquired more than half of the planet’s wealth. Their agenda is to lessen the population of Earth and to rule the planet”
There are no new ideas and so every novelist sooner or later finds her/himself using an idea which is often familiar to the reader. It is hoped that the novelist using the idea is able to do so in some kind of intelligent and different way. There is nothing novel or interesting about the use of other ideas.
The only mildly interesting passage in the book is the first part where archeologists discover the teachings that allow Talasians to leave their bodies. Scherer managed to keep the reader thinking that the archeologists are human and the planet is earth. The other fun bit is that the Talasians watch the old Star Trek to bring themselves up to speed culturally when they reach earth. One thing I couldn’t understand was the constant referral to cappuccino and other elaborate coffee drinks. They are the only beverages the Talasians drink I have no idea what the significance of it is.
Tommy Scherer has created a mish-mash of ideas from various sources and his use of them is neither intelligent nor novel in any way. I trudged through about two thirds of it; during which the Talasians, who are ahead of humans in their development systematically free earth from the evil families who are controlling it by making contact and giving the teachings and some advanced technologies. Then there is a war with another alien race on behalf of a group of little grey beings with big eyes (I admit I skimmed the last half of the book just to see what was happening).
This book is either a very witty but perhaps a little tired spoof on classic Science Fiction or a very poor attempt to use all of the hackneyed ideas Science Fiction has produced and call it a novel.
In my estimation it’s the tasteless copy not the amusing imitation.