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Sky People, The (2006)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Sky People, The (2006) Author: S.M. Stirling

In the 1960's Earth's first interplanetary probes confirm that there is life teeming on both Mars and Venus, life that seems to be right out of a 50's Pulp magazine. The countryside is inhabited by creatures out of Earth's own past, with sabertoothed tigers and dinosaurs. The scientists, of course, are puzzled why life here is identical to that of Earth - and there is a reason.

It's now 1988 and Cajun Marc Vitrac is assigned to Jamestown, a US Commonwealth base on Venus, which is near one of the native cities. When an EastBloc shuttle crashes in the wilds Jamestown sends its long-range blimp to go find it, with Vitrac leading the group. Unfortunately the craft is found by a tribe of the Neanderthal beastmen first, who quickly learn to use the machine guns they find within. This is bad news for their neighbors, the modern-looking Cloud Mountain People. Vitrac's group ends up helping them and he falls for the beautiful Teesa, who is the Cloud People's priestess.

Not only is THE SKY PEOPLE another fascinating alternate-history by Stirling, it's clearly his homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Leigh Bracket and Lin Carter. If this was published thirty-years ago, it would be one of those yellow spined DAW sci-fi/fantasy books. So, it you're in the mood for a familiar scenario penned by one of today's best Sci-Fi writers then you're in for a treat.

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