Whipping Star (ConSentiency Universe #1), by Frank Herbert
Whipping Star is a book of a lighter mood than what Frank Herbert usually writes, even comedic at times, although it is as creative as he can write. A universe of sentients of very different cultures and shapes and mentality, working and living together, is at risk. Only the lead agent of the Bureau of Sabotage, an organization created to slow down the efficiency of government, can save everything.
It is funny that in a book about a huge universe in peril the thing that stayed with me the most is the very idea of the Bureau. Apparently, a lack of foresight caused a particular species of sentient to take over the bureaucracy in the entire universe, bringing it to total efficiency. Hard to imagine efficient governments, but once you do you realize you may not really want them! The solution was to create a special branch that has the role to fix that original error. I found that hilarious, especially guessing the view the author had about governments.
However, the book is not about that. It's about a very rational exploration of the interaction between very weird species, trying to communicate a solution before it is too late. It reads like a detective story, really, where the main character is trying to solve the case, but filled with some very interesting and mind broadening ideas. So Herbert! It is short and fast paced.
Only after I've read the book I realized it is part of a series. I don't really care, since I am on the journey of reading the complete list of novels by the author, but even so, this is a stand alone story. I recommend it because it is both intriguing and fun. As far as I am concerned this is not Frank Herbert's best book, but still deserves top marks.
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