Lost and Found by Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster, well-known to science fiction fans, makes a habit of producing wildly original stories. His latest sci-fi effort, Lost and Found, combines space drama with a prison breakout storyline.
Marcus Walker is enjoying a well-deserved vacation, while camping in the Sierra Nevadas. But one morning he awakens and realizes that something is wrong.
As it turns out, he has been kidnapped by aliens and dumped into a cell that exactly replicates his campsite. Unable to make his alien captors talk to him, Marc slips into apathy and simply awaits his fate … until he meets George, an Earth dog who has been given a brain boost to allow him to talk and think.
Soon, Marc and George are interacting with other alien prisoners in a vast common room. Imbued now with a renewed sense of outrage, Marc enlists the aid of other like-minded beings to plan a means of getting them all back home. But on a ship light-years from anywhere familiar, what are the chances of escaping the fate of being sold as pets?
I was initially skeptical about this novel, since the first couple of chapters sound as if Foster’s trying too hard to create a unique voice. The prose is peppered with descriptive phrases such as “the cranial components of violently demised ungulates” instead of “stuffed deer heads.” It’s distracting and makes the set-up for the primary narrative difficult to wade through.
Once the action moves into space, however, Foster settles down and introduces readers to a multitude of aliens. Rather than try to overwhelm the reader with detail, he sketches out most of the aliens, leaving his time and focus for the few that truly contribute to the story.
He doesn’t skimp on descriptions, but he does accentuate the important elements.
Although slow to start, Lost and Found gains momentum and finally delivers an amusing story.