Copyright 1996 by
I first read this in October 1998.
Mariesa van Huyten wants man back in space and is willing to use every
resource of her business empire to achieve it. Many people are caught
up in the different threads of her grand plan. There's the cynical
high-school teacher Barry Fast, a varied grab-bag of students from his
school, Ned DuBois - ex-test pilot, Forest Calhoun - ex-astronaut and
the various members of Mariesa's own family,
Two big books in one week proselytising space travel and education- I just finished
re-reading Niven & Pournelle's "Footfall". Both books are gung-ho for
getting back into space, both point out that (at least in the '80s)
America was no longer capable of returning to the moon, and both books
quote the same Rudyard Kipling verse "We are one with hope and honour".
I liked this book. I believed in the characters. I even found myself
thinking of them afterwards and that's unusual for me. Dwelling on this
for a moment, I remember very few of the names of characters from novels. In fact, the only
names that spring spontaneously into my rather blank mind are Hari Seldon
of Foundation fame, Sam from "Lord Of Light" and Douglas Adam's Ford
Prefect. So how come I remember Mariesa, Barry and Shannon, Styx,
Alvin, Hobie, Chase and Jimmy, Ned and Forrest and even Harriet?
Guess it must be great writing about a subject close to my heart.
It's excellently plotted with the last couple of chapters providing half
a dozen perfectly acceptable end-points - together they provide a
perfect completion for this big book.
So what's it got? No aliens, but epic drama, excellent action and
SSTO (Single Stage To Orbit) rockets. Enough for me any day.
Loaded on the 16th May 2001.