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Sylvia Louise Engdahl

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The Far Side of Evil
by Sylvia Louise Engdahl   

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Books by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
· Stewards of the Flame
· Children of the Star
· Journey Between Worlds
· Enchantress from the Stars
                >> View all


Young Adult/Teen

Publisher:  Walker ISBN-10:  0802788483 Type: 


Copyright:  March 2003 (orig, ed. 1971)

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Sylvia Engdahl (signed copies)
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A science fiction novel related to Enchantress from the Stars because it has the same heroine, but completely independent and intended for older teen readers.

Elana, having completed her training as an agent of the Anthropological Service, is sent to a world whose people may soon destroy their civilization. Since not enough is understood about the situation to justify any interference with their evolution, the Service has no power to act; its agents must go as helpless observers, posing as natives, in the hope of gaining knowledge that may help to save other worlds. This passive role proves intolerable to the young, inexperienced agent assigned to the same city as Elana, a city under totalitarian rule. After falling in love with a local girl who has become Elana's closest friend, he identifies too completely with the natives and unwittingly endangers the entire world by a well-meant but ill-advised attempt to intervene. Forced to assume responsibility for undoing the damage, Elana finds that only she--at great cost--can prevent an immediate war of annihilation.

The 2003 edition has been revised, mainly to update statements about the significance of space colonization. The story's action hasn't changed, but the book is now much more timely than the 1971 edition.

Now also available in paperback from Firebird, ISBN 0142402931.

Professional Reviews

"A surprising, haunting, poetic book ... full of provocative philosophical and psychological questions as well as tense adventure and romance." Commonweal, 21 May 1971

"Gripping psychological science fiction ... the relationship between the heroine and her sophisticated, unbrutish interrogator is beautifully balanced and adds another dimension to a story which is already multi-faceted." Times Literary Supplement, London, 19 September 1975

"The author has a direct, forceful style of writing that sparks the reader's imagination." Publisher's Weekly, 31 May 1971

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