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Return To The Stars

Return To The Stars - Edmond Hamilton In the first book John Gordon exchanged minds with a scientist from a very remote future Zarth Arn and was able to travel around the galaxy in the body of the scientist trying to save the Galactic Empire from bad guys. People who watched Star Wars at least once will find these settings very familiar; I doubt it is possible to find anybody who has not heard about the movie I mentioned.

Anyway, John Gordon came back to his own time and body and after some time he began wondering whether his adventures were real; this is very understandable in his case. He even had to take therapy sessions trying to prove himself he was delusional at this particular instance. He - his therapist actually - almost succeeded when Zarth Arn had another scientific breakthrough and was able to bring John Gordon to his time and place in flesh. So much for therapy.

The future is not all unicorns and rainbows, so John Gordon must yet again save the Universe from the threat which dwarfs that of the first book of the duology. Some very familiar faces make surprise appearances.

This sequel has everything the first one had, only bigger. Let me recount: even cheesier dialog,
bigger and scarier bad guys (evil telepaths), more unexplored worlds, more exotic aliens. What is not to like? Add to this a bad guy whom one cannot help but love. I mean he makes good guys look like boring self-righteous hypocrites.

For all the cheese in the book I was very surprised to find a strong anti-racist message. I cannot say it was delivered too subtly, but it did not feel like hammering either. It was interesting to see John Gordon's development in this regard: initially he felt superior to most of the aliens, especially repulsive-looking ones.

So: cheese, pulp, very likable bad guy, and space opera (something like this):
Space Opera
all of these make this book is better than the first one. The ending was left wide open for a sequel which unfortunately never came. I rate this one with 3 stars, but in this case this means a good book I do not regret reading.