Friday, April 15, 2011

No Different Flesh

The People: No Different Flesh. (The New Chronicle of  THE PEOPLE) Zenna Henderson. 1967. Avon. 225 pages.

Meris watched the darkness rip open and mend itself again in the same blinding flash that closed her eyes.

No Different Flesh is the second People book by Zenna Henderson. It's a collection of loosely connected stories about The People. If you enjoy science fiction, I'd recommend both books. Both are well-written. Both are fantastic. (Much better than what you might think based on the book covers alone!)

The novel does begin on a dark and stormy night. Meris and Mark are a married couple grieving the loss of a child. After the storm, Mark discovers a young child. Where did this little one come from? Why are her clothes so out-of-this-world? Is she not talking because of shock? Or does she not speak English? One mystery is soon solved when the girl's father arrives within a few days. But for Mark and Meris, it's only the beginning of the wonder, of the mystery. For this child and her father are of The People. And soon they are joined by others of their Group. And the stories begin. And Mark and Meris are very happy to be included in these gatherings. The framework of this novel isn't as strong as in the first book. But the stories are just as fascinating, just as wonder-making.

The stories included in this one are: No Different Flesh, Deluge, Angels Unawares, Troubling of the Water, Return, and Shadow on the Moon.

My favorite would probably be "Deluge" and "Angels Unawares." In Deluge,  readers learn about The Home--the origin planet for The People, a planet that was dying, a planet The People were forced to leave; we witness everything through the eyes of one family. In Angels Unawares, readers follow one member of that family to her new home, Earth.

I enjoyed the stories. I enjoyed the characters. I even enjoyed the structure--how many stories we have, and how many different narrators we have.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Richard LeComte 11:55 AM  

I remember reading a People story in an SF short story anthology for young adults in the early 1970s. I loved the idea of a town and a people with a secret extraterrestrial identity. The stories were made into a pretty good TV movie with Kim Darby and William Shatner.

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