Book Report: Cyber Way by Alan Dean Foster (1990)

Based on my previous experience with Foster, I bought a number of Alan Dean Foster books last May at Downtown Books in Milwaukee (including Codgerspace, The Dig, and Midworld). Like those, I paid $2.95 for this book, and I offer the same criticism: It reads like a stretched out short story.

Foster does have a predilection for prediction though; in this book, written in 1989 or before, future police officers carry PDAs and hook into the Internet frequently. However, as he wrote the books before Netscape opened the World Wide Web, things have different names (mollyspinners and whatnot), but the intervening 15 years have not rendered the futuristic technologies obsolete; instead, life has developed along those lines, making the book very approachable in 2005.

When an art collector is murdered in Tampa, the methodical detective Vernon Moody draws the case. The industrialist collector died in his art display room, and the murderer also destroyed a Navaho sand painting. Early investigations indicate that someone had argued with the collector about the painting on numerous occasions. The department sends the homebody Moody to the southwest to determine the Navaho connection. Unfortunately, Moody not only finds a murderer, but a world beyond his imagination where sandpaintings and medicine men can tap into something more powerful than police.

An enjoyable, imaginative short story stretched into a short novel with the addition of a lot of filler talk and speculation. Worth a couple of bucks undoubtedly, particularly if you appreciate Alan Dean Foster.

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