Lunar Justice – Charles L. Harness

Lunar-Justice-Charles-L-Harness_cover

An intellectual property lawyer with psionic power finds himself unexpectedly thrust into a death-penalty case on the moon.

I first ran across Charles Harness through the second half of Wolfhead, a novel serialized in F&SF in 1977. It didn’t do a lot for me, but at some point I started picking up his novels. I didn’t like them a lot better, but I seem to have ended up with a fair handful. Maybe because they’re not awful, and for the pleasure of following a lesser-known author.

Lunar Justice is among those ‘not awful’ novels. It uses familiar Harness devices (intellectual property, psi), in a fairly thin plot. For a novel published in 1991, it’s on the sexist side; men do all the thinking, and the one key woman is decorative. Despite the patent attorney hero, there’s relatively little here about intellectual property, and what there is (a daffy rhyming idea) is none too interesting. Mostly, the plot and action are just convenient. Things fall together easily, with a fairly blatant disregard for realism.

At the same time, the lead character, sexist though he is, is engaging. It’s amusing to follow him on his broadly predictable path, and doesn’t require much attention. So long as you don’t look for logic, and you don’t mind a little pedestal-putting, it won’t do you any harm. All in all, a quick, mildly entertaining read.

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