On My Way to Paradise

On My Way to Paradise

by Dave Wolverton

When Angelo Osic aids a stranger one day, he calls down disaster. For the woman called Tamara is also a woman on the run, the only human with the knowledge that will save Earth from the artificial intelligences plotting to overthrow it. A spellbinding novel from the grand prizewinner of the 1986 Writers of the Future contest.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Science Fiction
  • Rating: 3.88
  • Pages: 528
  • Publish Date: November 1st 1989 by Spectra
  • Isbn10: 0553276107
  • Isbn13: 9780553276107

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At the very least, I would help fellow human being in need, discover a new author and pick up a new book. After a modicum of research, I found myself buying not one, but three books by Wolverton (The Sum of All Men, Nightingale, and On My Way to Paradise, of course). On My Way to Paradise is Wolverton's first novel, a piece of science-fiction set sometime in the not too distant future, perhaps a century or two down the road. I mean, yes, we were clearly on the way to paradise (or were we?), but Osic never set off on a quest or intentionally seemed to choose his path. One minute Osic is escaping assassins aboard a shuttle to an orbiting station and the next moment he's signing on to serve as a mercenary in a war on a planet twenty years away from Earth. On the surface, I could see in Osic's mercenary training and fight, foreshadowing of whatJohn Scalzi would build in Old Man's War. In Wolverton's universe, though, the story is an inverted parabolic fall from grace, where no kind action goes unpunished, where the hero must pass through fire before he finds heaven. Indeed, the entire story is set up as parable, a pilgram's progress perhaps, with Osic playing Dante as he descends to hell on his way to finding redemption. Wolverton fills the book with fantastic character development and philosophy, proving once again that good science-fiction isn't about lasers and spaceships (though they certainly don't hurt), but about us, about humanity, and about the big questions. While the world around Osic is fighting over the questions of capitalism versus socialism, the holding to the past and dramatically changing for the future, Wolverton seems to posit that somethings about human nature does not change not matter the excuse or the progression of technology--its capacity for violence as well as for great compassion.

Either way, I like his Runelords writing style better. I really feel like in the Runelords books I have a better sense of the space scenes take place in. Second, Dave is very interested in probing moral questions in his books--and apparently this has been the case from the beginning. I feel like this tendency adds a punch to his books, something to leave me thinking about it after I've finished it. Dave Farland was doing a lot of really great stuff a dozen years before the ideas hit the mainstream. If you like strange places and interesting worlds, this is a book to look into. In the end, I recommend the book for those who like sci-fi, military type books, and are interested in heavy moral questions. I haven't read a lot of sci-fi books, so I can't compare it to any others, really.

male, the women need saved all the time, and it's a book everyone is expected to love. Oh, hey, what makes people human anyway?" Now that you've read that last paragraph, you can skip about 300 pages of the book. The rapes are described in detail and I think that Dave Wolverton enjoyed writing them. Why else would the same woman be raped so many times? I can understand that once might be necessary for the plot or back story, but I've lost count now of how many times the same woman was raped. No one else cares Dave, except where it's important to the plot. Not even the massive planet warming scare did anything of importance for the plot and that was the most promising thing you had in your world that would impact the characters in a meaningful way. There are at least fifty pages of wandering through the terrain on a hover craft looking for an army that doesn't need to be in the book. For someone like me who fought disgust to read every word in this book, every extraneous word counts. Dave spends so much time at the beginning on the earth's political structure and situation that it feels like he started a whole new book when it started to be in space. Great swaths of Earth information didn't need to be there if it was going to be a space book. Dave starts a complete third book for the last 180 pages. He almost starts another one with ten pages left to go before suddenly deciding to resolve one last crisis and end the book with something that looks suspiciously like Deus ex Machina. Why spend so much time detailing the training and every little simulation when only a handful of it actually does anything for the plot structure? Yes my friend, that means I liked reading The Tiger's Curse more than I liked this book and I never thought I would ever say that about anything, like, ever. What's more, this book stole days of my life, not just a few hours. I will do everything I can to keep other people from reading this book or any of Dave's others.

There was plenty of all of the above in On My Way to Paradise, but what I remembered most about it was its interesting depiction of future Latino and Japanese societies. Reading it now with forty years of experience under my belt, I greatly appreciated the deep philosophical and ethical arguments presented by the narrative--much more so than I did the action scenes, which are still as vivid and as exciting as I remember...but now that I'm middle-aged and worn to a nub with cynicism, I found myself more attracted to the reasons On My Way to Paradise depicts the cultural clash between two bellicose cultures: the revolution-weary Latinos of South America, who even in the 23rd Century are still embroiled in a never-ending series of military dictatorships, socialist dictatorships, pseudo-democratic dictatorships, and fragile mayfly democracies; and the Corporate Feudalism of the Japanese--specifically, the Motoki Corporation, who has engineered a society based on a bizarre mishmash of samurai-era Japan and '80s corporate culture. Motoki Corp hires a few thousand Latino mercenaries, some of whom are bioneered chimeras with enhanced bodies and an even-more-enhanced territorialism, to help them defeat a rival Japanese settlement, the Yabajin--"barbarians"--on the planet Baker. This book was likely instrumental in forming the foundations of virtually everything I believe today about *human advancement, society, and morality--and reading it again, I feel rejuvenated just like Angelo Osic does in the novel.

The way this book is written, reading it is like having a movie play in your head, it is so vivid and impossible to put down. Also beware to readers, this novel is not just violent (it's about war, so that's a given) it also includes graphic scenes of sexual assault (mostly as a character development point for the main, male character who seeks vengeance on the victims' behalf...