The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes by Robert A. Heinlein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Overall, I really don't have anything bad to say about this re-imagining of Heinlein's The Number of the Beast. I just re-read Number in preparation for this parallel novel about parallel universes just so I could be very aware of the differences, and while the first third of the novel is almost exactly the same in either, there's a lot more emphasis in the *imaginary* universes and no references to Lazarus Long and Co.
This is important. Number spent a lot more time with regular exploration in the possible universes and then took a by-line to the frankly wonderful if sometimes problematic extended universe Heinlein peppered his later novels with.
Pankera, on the other hand, reads as an all-out homage to old SF and Fantasy works, going much farther in the worlds of Barsoom or Oz or Lensmen and deepening those connections.
I actually loved it. Both novels ribbed us about Asimov and Niven and Anderson and I loved how Heinlein kidded us about how Heinlein's works were all trash. This one was simply much more focused on the beautiful fan fiction and crossovers between his own creation and all the others.
Is it problematic at all?
Nope. It's just plain adventure with the original four proud genius nudists having fun trouncing all the plans of old, established SF and Fantasy worlds. It's rather heartwarming.
Let's just hope we don't wind up finding other "manuscripts" of strangely sanitized Heinlein, shall we? The original guy had his own agenda and it is what it is. :)
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