The Singers of Time by Frederik Pohl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is classic early 80's style SF with Williamson/Pohl's classic humor mixed with hard SF issues.
The "Turtles" came to Earth in the latter part of the 20th century, picking up a few isolated humans near death to learn everything they could about the human race. Then they came down with a plan - to eliminate war and poverty though trade. With their wealth and technology, they conquered the planet with kindness.
Now, a hundred years later, humans live in peace and prosperity.. but without their own developments in science and technology, human science having been eclipsed by the more advanced technology of the Turtles... until a disaster strikes the Turtles home world.. and only the heretical ideas of Earth's 20th century astrophysicists can save the day.
At its core, this is a hard SF adventure novel - with each chapter interspersed by late 20th century university lectures on the nature of the universe and its creation. The main characters are somewhat flat, however, and the writing style somewhat dated. The characterizations are more reminiscent of early Perry Mason novels than anything else that comes to mind.
Overall, an entertaining and lightly humorous novel that combines a fun adventure to save the multi-verse with deep conceptualization on the nature of the Universe itself.
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