This Alien Shore
Copyright 1998 by
I first read this in October 1999 and most recently on the 5th May 2002.
When Earth discovered faster-than-light travel, colonies were established on
many planets throughout the galaxy. Only later did the cost of FTL usage
become apparent: genetic damage resulting in profound physical and mental
mutations. Earth recoiled in horror from these "Variants" it had s
spawned, abandoning the fledgling colonies to survive or fail as they might.
Surviving their abandonment by Earth, the inhabitants of the planet Guera
established the Outspace Guild. The Guild is dedicated to the cause of
reuniting all the lost colonies and indeed Earth, guaranteeing equal access for
all. It maintains the way-stations by the entry points into hyperspace.
It provides the only pilots who can survive the ravages of FTL
travel to deliver spacecraft safely to their destinations.
But now Earth is challenging the Guild's monopoly on space travel.
Jamisia was rescued as a child by the Shido Corporation and brought up
in their orbiting habitat. They gave her the best of medical care, nursing
her through her traumas. She knows she still has serious mental problems, but
Shido has always tried to help, although they seemed unable to help her
But now the Shido habitat has been destroyed by a rival corporation, apparently
in search of her. She manages to escape, at least for the moment. Can she remain
free long enough to find why they want her so badly?
On Paradise, one of the FTL way-stations, there's a so-far-successful
hacker named Phoenix. He's trying to crack a computer virus but now he's
getting worried - this virus has already killed several of his friends.
Meanwhile, the famed cyberneticist Dr. Kio Masada is also chasing down this virus.
He's after it because it threatens the security of the entire Outspace Guild and
FTL travel itself.
Half traditional SF and half cyberpunk - I loved it. It's an enjoyable and
quite exciting read. It's not exactly deep but it's great fun. The only two
problems are that (i) almost everyone is, frankly, a little too nice, and (ii) I
saw more of myself in Rio Masada than Phoenix and that's more than a little worrying.
I also enjoyed Freidman's "The Madness Season". Clearly I'm going to have to
amazon some more of her books.
Loaded on the 2nd June 2002.