Books: Walking on the Wild Side O-Zone

by Paul Theroux; Putnam; 527 pages; $19.95

New England-born, old England-based Paul Theroux knows how to take care of literary business. Since 1967 he has published ten novels, four novellas, three short-story collections and five travel books, including The Great Railway Bazaar. He has paid his dues as an essayist and reviewer; his varied fiction has harmonized into a respected oeuvre; and he has had a glamorous payday: his 1982 novel The Mosquito Coast is, as they say, soon to be a major motion picture.

That novel saw a discontented American attempt to carve a new life in the Honduran tropics. O-Zone, Theroux's first venture into science fiction,...

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