Science fiction and fantasy have antiheros aplenty. Think Thomas Covenant, Frankenstein's monster, or Alex from A Clockwork Orange. Add Gaetan "Don't Call Me Gae" du Cheyne, the protagonist of Acts of Conscience, to the list. Gaetan is an ordinary, self-involved, maybe-misogynistic orbital mechanic. He drinks, obsesses about women (as objects of his impotent lust), and irritates people. But oh, how realistic Gaetan is--a masterful characterization by William Barton. In fact, Gaetan's thoughts are almost too human and scattered, and Barton relies on ellipses rather heavily ... when writing what's going on in Gaetan's head.|
When Gaetan's forgotten investments turn him into the sole owner of a faster-than-light spaceship, he flees his pathetic life and heads to planet Green Heaven to seek out the adventure and excitement he's craved. Instead, his journey reveals only the intergalactic depredations of men just like himself--brutal rapes, senseless killing, eradication of cultures and ecologies. He also discovers an ancient alien civilization contemplating the eradication of humanity. What's an honest antihero to do?
Acts of Conscience received a special mention in the 1997 Philip K. Dick Awards.
Source: Therese Littleton, Amazon.com.