Another favorite author I’ve reviewed almost nothing of.
Harness was a patent attorney, and some of his science fiction stories and novels are courtroom dramas.
A retro review from January 30, 2006 …
On an alien world where yellow and blue are unheard of colors, where a tentative truce between science and religion has been worked out, a young man is rescued from poverty by an unknown benefactor. But, on his way to his first day of work for the Printers Guild, he is denounced by a condemned witch. His crime? He is to be the Revenant, the man who will return from the dead to overthrow the old order.
For those who have never read Charles Harness, this is not the place to start. Start with his classic The Paradox Men, his tribute to Edgar Allan Poe, Lurid Dreams, or the collection An Ornament to His Profession. The newcomer may just see another alien society trying to develop science and frustrated by reactionary forces. And the plot has some vaguely glossed over points and scientific absurdities.
But, as Harness admits in his opening notes, there is much that he shares with his hero: a beloved older brother who died tragically young, early training for the ministry, chemical studies, and jobs with the police in a red light district of town. And Harness, as usual, works in references to art, here the music of J. S. Bach and Richard Wagner.
And there is the discovery of women. This coming of age novel has a lot of sex passages, most effectively done — especially for Harness, an author not known for his erotic work. And the sex is actually crucial to the plot.