Sherlock Holmes We are Not: Maggie Pearson Omega Seven (London: Hodder Headline, 1999)
On the planet of Omega Seven, all is perfect. All the animals are herbivores and each of them eats only one kind of plant. Luke is bored. His parents are on Omega Seven to work for the Company which thinks a perfect planet will look after their scientists beautifully, remove all their worries and leave them free to be creative.
Things are a bit weird tho’. First items go missing and then are returned, then people go missing.
Finally Luke, a geek named Sam (recruited by the company when he was a kid—the politics of the society is glossed over but it sounds pretty horrific) and an independent scientist named Pavel are all taken. They find themselves facing Romans, then Vikings and Medieval castles. All three quickly work out they are being tested but Sam thinks its b y the Company. He sets out making the war the castle is fighting more efficient.
Eventually first Pavel and then Luke figure out that aliens (or indigenes) are creating the hallucinations in order to find out why the world they built is not developing intelligence and the humans did. The answer of course is struggle and conflict.
What I found irritating about this book was the way Pavel kept telling Luke to think without actually telling him what to think about, and was awfully smug about keeping the answer to himself. As an adult reader I was irritated that on the one hand the answer was obvious from the start and there weren’t enough clues to actually work it out if it hadn’t been obvious.