The Metaconcert, Julian May (Intervention #2)

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.
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January 21, 2013

The Metaconcert, Julian May

The Metaconcert, Julian May

Hey! It’s our 100th post here at the Radish! And we still have lots of things to say! Whee!

And to celebrate, how about some more Julian May? (At this point, I know I’m about the only person who cares about these books and I do not care!)

The second half of Intervention is The Metaconcert and things are much darker in what, at the time, was the future but is now the past. That’s sort of the awesome thing about these books–the intervention part of things takes place in 2012.

My main complaint about this book is that there isn’t enough drunk Uncle Rogi or enough scenes with aliens–there’s a lot more political maneuvering amongst the various human factions and honestly, I find it kind of boring. I’d rather read more about the Remillard family–even about super-perfect Denis–than about politicians in Washington.

On the other hand, this book is episodic enough that if one section isn’t very interesting then there will be another one shortly.

The book ends with the Intervention–that is, all the aliens showing up to say hello and it feels really anti-climactic for some reason. I’m not sure why–possibly because I was really disengaged from most of the story. I don’t know.

Uncle Rogi continues to be awesome, though. And I did enjoy the bits with the evil operants and I wanted to know more about how Kieran O’Connor’s mind worked–especially in light of his relationship with his daughter and with Victor Remillard. Shannon O’Connor’s death is also extremely suggestive of things that will go down in the next set of books…

But one thing that strikes me as a fundamental flaw is this: for all the talk of the need for operants to be non-violent and to use peaceful means to achieve their goal of acceptance among the population, there is not a single mention of the civil rights movement in the US which was also a movement that was essentially non-violent. Or Indian independence from Great Britain, also a movement with a strong non-violent component. The only non-white players are literally inscrutable Asians or a Tibetan monk who ends up a martyr.  It just doesn’t sit right with me–and I know that’s not the story May was wanting to tell, but the sheer white man-ness of this story gets to be a bit much after a while.

So these two books are a useful bridge to the Galactic Milieu series, but I don’t know if they’re really worth reading outside of that context–I think that if I didn’t know that there were three more books to come that I wouldn’t have bothered finishing the second half of Intervention. It really just didn’t work for me. More drunk Uncle Rogi!

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7 Comments

  1. Jan the Alan Fan

    I thought the end of the book was a bit anti-climatic too. 🙁 However, there were some interesting bits in it:

    – AU rescuing Uncle Rogi from being kidnapped by his nephew Victor at a science-fiction convention… how surreal is that. I do like the fact that sci-fi fandom is in this series. There’s even a reference to Darkover fans all dressed up at the con (I’m a fan of Darkover so I always like that bit!). Elaine & Don’s daugher at the con dressed up as Red Sonja…

    – AU disguised as an elderly Swede called Dr M.A. Paulson(!) trying to stop Gerry Tremblay from giving in to his envy at Denis… having learnt the hard way about the results of this.

    – In 2013 Rogi starts to suspect, I think, that he’s not aging as fast as he should.

    _ Footage of flying saucers over Siberia is blamed on Industrial Light and Magic. Bwhahaha.

    – Shannon O’Connor’s death…. argh argh. That’s one of the creepiest scenes in the whole series. A nasty pattern has been set up for the future, yes.

    • Natalie

      Yes–those are all the parts I found to be the most interesting, too! I really did enjoy seeing AU popping up in different places and, of course, right at the end, it’s made explicit who AU is, although not how he got that way (at least not to Rogi).

      Shannon O’Connor’s death is right up there with Mercy Lamballe’s in terms of creepiness–I do want to reread that section again before I start reading the last three books; the first time I read these, I remember being really confused by Fury.

  2. Jan the Alan Fan

    In these two books and the next series, you can play the game of ‘Where’s AU?’, with clues such as someone talking about the dangers of envy/pride/jealousy, references to the colour grey, etc. :-p

    The last line of the book always gets me, yes.

    Mercy Lamballe’s death was creepy as well, brr.

  3. nodon

    Glad to see that people (or at least person) are still reading these books – I don’t think you are the only person who cares. Just yesterday, I handed my 1st edition Many Colored Land to my son who wanted to know the backstory of my long-used user name is (shortened for keyboarding ease and cuz it’s a palindrome).

    Although I read the Pliocene Saga and Galactic Milieu series every couple of years, I really can’t get into the Intervention books. As you say, it’s difficult to be emotionally invested in the story. Maybe it’s that this occupies a boring (to me) middle ground between the series.

  4. Saskia

    Marc Remillard has to be one of my favourite fictional characters and I was just doing a spot of googling to see if anyone had bothered making any drawings of him, and came across this review. Like nodon said, I’m SO glad that people are still reading these books. I loved the Pliocene Exile Saga, but the Galactic Milieu Trilogy remains in my top-5 series of all time. I re-read them at least once a year and love them every time. I got the impression from this review that you haven’t read them yet and am now DYING to know what you thought of them! Please update soon or even email me if you’d like – I don’t know anyone else who’s read these and would love to have a chat about them.
    Keep up the good work! 🙂

    • Natalie

      Thanks for the great comment!

      I actually HAVE read the whole series but it’s been a very long time–so I do remember the broad outline of what happens but am, at this point, a bit fuzzy on the specifics. I think there’s a ton of interesting stuff happening in these books and it really is a damn shame that not many people read these anymore.

    • Jan the Alan Fan

      @Saskia

      Hi, may I say there is a small collection of Julian May fanart at deviantart.com… I think the best is by the fan artist Volcannah. 🙂 Someone else did post a drawing of Marc there, but I don’t think it’s that great, IMHO.

      The Exiles and Milieu series are love. 🙂

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