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by Randall Ingermanson
Published by Harvest House, 2000
Highly recommended by: Greg Slade
This book is set in the same circumstances as Ingermanson's later work, Premonition. According to Ingermanson, the book has been taken out of print because Harvest House sold the rights to Zondervan, which published Premonition, so that Zondervan could re-release it as part of the build-up surrounding Ingermanson's "City of God" series, of which Premonition is the first volume.
As excellent as Premonition is, I was tempted, due in part to Ingermanson's own comments, to regard Transgression as a lesser work. (It was, after all, a first novel, and Ingermanson has a few more notches in his typewriter now.) Then, too, some people have complained that the physics upon which the story is based are now passé. (Since I went into arts rather than sciences, and my scientific knowledge is largely gleaned from sources like Analog and Nova, I tend to be fairly easily satisfied when it comes to hand-waving. But if an author does make a mistake that I can spot, I am so on their case.) And, well, the bad guy is really appallingly ignorant. He's a technical genius, but in other ways, he's a complete moron. (I wanted to quote Stephanie Speck from Short Circuit: "Are all geniuses as stupid as you?") To be fair, though, just because somebody is competent in one field doesn't mean they are equally competent in others. We all know people who can be real geniuses at some things, and complete dunderheads at others. Still, the contrast between his technical brilliance and his utter stupidity at other things is annoying.
There. Complaints over and done with. Because the fact of the matter is that Ingermanson is a very good writer. He makes you care about the characters, and he builds tension very well. Like his other works, this one is a real "page turner." Then, too, as this story unfolded, I could grasp the significance of elements in Premonition which I had not fully understood before, so my appreciation of the later book was, if possible, increased. Then, too, Ingermanson had obviously put in some research time before even this first book, because the same sound grasp of the realities of first century culture are present in this book as in the later one. All in all, I hope that Zondervan doesn't delay too long in republishing this book. It sets the stage for the later series, and more people should have the opportunity to read it.
Transgression won the 2001 Christy Award in the "futuristic" category (which is what the CBA calls science fiction, presumably because the powers that be in the CBA remember the days when people furtively took SF books home in plain brown wrappers.)
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