82 points, 4 ¼ stars!
As director of the Jerhattan Parapsychic Center, telepath Rhyssa Owen coordinated the job assignments for psychically gifted Talents. And though she had her hands full dealing with the unreasonable demand for kinetics to work on the space platform that would be humankind’s stepping-stone to the stars, she was always ready to welcome new Talents to the Center.
Feisty and Streetwise, twelve-year-old Tirla used her extraordinary knack for languages to eke out a living in the Linear developments, where the poor struggled to make ends meet and children were conscripted or sold into menial work programs. Young Peter, paralyzed in a freak accident, hoped someday to get into space where zero gravity would enable him to function more easily. Both desperately needed help only other Talents could provide.
With the appearance in her life of one extraordinary man with no measurable Talent at all, Rhyssa suddenly found herself questioning everything she thought she knew about her people. And when two Talented children were discovered to have some very unusual –and unexpected– abilities, she realized that she would have to reassess the potential of all Talentkind…
“How can there be that many illegal children in the Residentials?” Jerhattan City Manager Teresa Aiello demanded of Medical Chief Harv Dunster. “Your people are supposed to tie off after a second pregnancy.”
Well, Pegasus in Flight was definitely less troublesome than To Ride Pegasus was. I mean, I still have some major “what the fuck” issues. Yet those issues aren’t anywhere near as many or as glaring as I had with the first book. It helps that this book was written nearly twenty years after the first was. The world had changed a lot in those twenty years, and the book reflected that change. Thank god.
Pegasus in Flight is about two generations after the events of the first book. The Talents world has moved on from learning psychics exist. They have adapted to having psychics around. And boy have they adapted. Their entire way of life is structured around the fact that they exist. The entire world seems structured in such a way that the Talents live and work for the good of all. I genuinely love this adaptation. I love the worldbuilding that it entails.
In this book there are two different plotlines, which take place in two different worlds, all on Earth, with two very different people. Yet in the end, it is all the same.
The first plotline is what I have dubbed the “Good” plotline, because it has genuinely good people in it. It follows two threads. The first is that there is a quadriplegic teenager who has been trapped in a hospital bed, yet is reaching out with his psychic powers for help. Peter ends up being the strongest telekinetic in the world, as is able to use his Talent to propel his body. Wrapped up in this plotline is that Earth is building a Space Station, for the good of mankind. Earth is overpopulated, and they’re trying to do something about it. And they’re leaning on telekinetics in any way that they can.
The second plotline is the “Bad” plotline, because the people in it are horrific. These horrifying people are wrapped up in the worldbuilding. In this book you see the near utopia of the previous plotline contrasted dystopian nightmare hellscape of this one. It is a hell of a trip.
This second plotline is located in what is essentially the slums. People are only allowed to have two children, since Earth is overpopulated, and they have to curb growth somehow. And once they have two children, they are forcibly altered so they can have no further children. So in the slums, they decide this is (in my opinion, somewhat rightfully,) an infringement on their rights, and so they have illegal children. Only, they end up selling those children when they get old enough for money to people who prostitute their children out. Charming.
Overall, I found Pegasus in Flight to be an interesting social commentary. Until the end. When a guy in his mid to late twenties falls in love with a 12 year old. Seriously. And they decide to wait for each other, because the guy had a premonition that she’d be ready for him. In four years. When she is sixteen.
This was mostly free of the glaring ethical issues that plagued the first book, just a whole lot of societal issues. Yet I chalk the societal issues up to worldbuilding, because that whole sterilization thing was horrid, but it made some sense. This… “relationship” was just unnecessary with a whole helping of what the fuck.
I genuinely love reading about this world, though. I loved the main characters. I just sometimes wish this was written today, instead of nearly 30 years ago. I wish it was written by a different author. But this is the story I got, and I’m sticking to liking it.