Thursday, March 07, 2013

Book Review: Starbound

For quite awhile I got my reading done in restaurants and on the subway. Life has changed enough that there's very little of either going on. So it's been awhile since I finished a book. One that I didn't like much was ruined in the beer spill. I'd already tossed it aside, though. Through good old fashioned sitting around and reading, I've just finished "Starbound" by Joe Haldeman.

You'll want to have read "Marsbound" first. It's not strictly necessary, but it's advisable, and, for the most part, a better book. In "Marsbound" we follow a family to the Mars colony that includes the first children on Mars. The daughter sort of forces another intelligence on the planet to reveal itself. They're not Martians, though. They were put on Mars to observe early humans on the behalf of another alien race. While the humans and the "martians" get along well enough, another observer out near Jupiter has judged the humans and marked them for death before taking off for the home world. Luckily, the martians help protect Earth from the destruction attempt.

In this book a ship with a crew made up of humans from Earth and Mars and a couple of martians are heading for the star system that the judgmental alien headed for. They're going with a message of peace since they know they can't stand for an instant against the aliens. Much of the book covers the interaction of the crew and wondering what's going to happen when they reach the aliens. Instead they're met by an emissary, their trip accelerated, and a brief history of the aliens spelled out. Then stuff gets exciting.

Some books have a great first chapter that sells you on reading the rest of the book. This book ends in a spectacular manner. It has it's slow points, but the author compensates for that by having the book change narrators regularly. And it's never as slow or as dull as that one the beer got. And the ending has you coming away with "WOAH! What a book!" Maybe that's to leave that impression so you'll recommend the book. Maybe it's so you'll rush out and get the next book in this series, "Earthbound". It works either way. I do plan to get a copy of "Earthbound" when it comes out in paperback.

If you've not read anything by Joe Haldeman before, I suggest you start with "The Forever War". My brother found the copy I got for Dad in his pickup and it started him on a fresh reading kick.

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