"Action packed space opera"
Rotating above the Earth is Bengal Station the jumping
point to Earth from the colonies. Jeff Vaughn, a telepath
employed by the station to scan people for contraband, is
a lonely man. The only person he connects to is Tiger, a
young beggar, who lies dying from an overdose of a drug
called Rhapsody, a controlled substance imported from one
of the colony worlds. A new religion, The Church of the
Adoration of the Chosen Ones, originated on one of the
colony worlds, the same world that brought in Rhapsody, is
actually seeking converts on the station before they go to
Vaughan becomes suspicious when his boss finds excuses for
him not to scan ships coming in from Verkerk's world. It
seems something irregular, perhaps illegal, is happening
on Verkerk's world and it is linked to the drug and the
religion. What he discovers when the planet yields its
secrets could change the course of humanity unless Vaughan
finds a way to stop the aliens who are on a mission of
The protagonist is a world-weary man who is semi-suicidal,
unable to deal with the darkness he reads in each human's
soul. The only reason he does not kill himself is that,
in spite of himself, he cares about humanity and does not
want the aliens to destroy the human race. Eric Brown's
Bengal Station is reminiscent of Star Trek Nine with its
space station relationships. Readers will enjoy the
action packed space opera and look for future works from
this talented author.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted June 9, 2004
Jeff Vaughan is a telepath, employed by the spaceport on Bengal Station, a vast twenty-level city-port situated in the Bay of Bengal mid-point between India and Myanmar. As part of a security team working against terrorists and other undesirables, he reads the minds of visitors to Earth. He wears an augmentation-pin which enhances human thoughts during working hours. The rest of the time, without the pin, he is aware of only low-level emanations, vague emotions.
The fact of being a telepath, and privy to the darker side of the human psyche, has made Vaughan cynical and despairing. He is addicted to chora, a drug which mutes the mind-noise of his fellow humans.
Bengal Station follows Vaughan on the trail of a mysterious religious sect, a serial killer, and a soul-sucking alien life-form secreted on the Station. Vaughan's mistrust of his fellow humans is over-turned by his love for Thai street-girl Sukara, one of the few pure thing he's ever encountered in a life of reading greedy, jaded minds.