Sunday, August 08, 2010

Wild, Wild Solar System

Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor: Threshold (Baen Books; 2010; ISBN 978-1-4391-3360-6; cover by Bob Eggleton).

When we last saw our heroes...they had discovered that aliens had co-existed with dinosaurs, forged an alliance with the US government (and some international partners), crossed to Mars, discovered alien presences around and on Mars and...through the luck of Joe Buckley...had colonized Mars (by accident).

Threshold, the follow-up to Boundary starts up the tale several years later. The private effort behind the expedition to Mars has succeeded beyond anybody's wildest dream...but is strapped for cash. Hints abound of additional bases of the aliens nicknamed Bemmie throughout the Solar System, but Ares has no resources to follow up on the hints. The various nations all want a piece of the pie (or to find a pie on their own): the US is building more ships, the ESA is building its own ship, some countries contribute in other ways (India builds a space elevator).

From Earth, to Mars, to the Asteroid Belt, to Jupiter and dropping hints to where we are going next: this is one excellent read. Not only do you see that Hard SF is not dead (the pundits may think otherwise), but you can have a lot of fun with a positive near-future setting. Maybe SF doesn't have to be all doom and gloom these days?

Like Arthur C. Clarke's stories of exploring the Solar System? Like Robert A. Heinlein's Future History or YA series? Give this one a try!

A white-knuckle race across the Solar System, multiple hair-raising escapes and (of course) a cliffhanger (literally) of an ending. Guys? Eric? Ryk? Please don't take so long with the next installment!

FTC Disclaimer: Both the paper book and the eBook were 100% purchased by me.

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