Monday, May 20, 2013

Review:Red Planet Run (A Star Svensdotter Adventure) by Dana Stabenow

Red Planet Run (A Star Svensdotter Adventure) by Dana Stabenow

I loved this story much more than the two previous. I felt the two previous were doing quite well at paying homage to Robert Heinlein. There is nothing wrong with that but for some reason I felt I was seeing more of the true Dana Stabenow throughout this book. I can't really say that with utmost authority since I've not read any of her other books than this series.

The story picks up where we left Star in the previous. She is on the verge of finishing the grand project of creating the first of her small world. Helen, the devil in the details in this story, thinks its time for Star to move on. She wants Star to help map out Mars and find more possible evidence of the Prometheans whose relics have been found in the asteroid belt.

With Helen one never know how much of the information she gives out is true.

Star resists but then seems to have a change of heart while deciding that she needs a change of scenery for her children, who seem to be getting out of hand. Brother Moses is at it again and he's bringing a mob against Star; and her children have found a way to change him and his followers skin color to green. They don't have a sense of humor about this.

This story often seems to plod along but I attribute that mostly to the need to explain much of the science and politics of the time. It's also important to take note that we now should consider these stories to be alternate universe stories because they were designed to take place within decades of the year they were written that they have become somewhat outdated. Unless we landed on Mars already and I've just been out of touch.

With that in mind though, the arrival on Mars and their adventures in a balloon almost smack of steam-punk which adds to the now alternate history. Either way it doesn't really take away from the story.

In this story Star is still being dogged by her past. William Kwan, ex space patrol now killer, and friend of her ex friend/arch enemy Greys has been striking out against the asteroid miners. Star has a close call with the man. When Helen suggests that there might be evidence of an alien weapon pointing at where the planet now asteroid belt Prometheus and Star decides she and her children need a change, Star thinks she's gotten rid of her troubles with Kwan.

Unfortunately trouble follows Star.

It is good to see that in the adventures on Mars in the balloon Star is forced, by her children, to become more humanized in regards to their fathers death. They rightfully feel she doesn't talk about their father at all. They also seem to want to try to give her religion but that doesn't quite work out so well. The storyknife ceremonies were a nice touch and fit in quite well with that brief moment of grief and acceptance of hope for what may come. I was not convinced that Star was convinced yet of an afterlife- she's a hard sell.

Even though these are now a bit dated and as I mentioned an alternate history I'd love to see more. Though Star has some problems with her own self induced dehumanized condition she's a strong and independent character whose life indicates that there might be some sacrifices to maintaining her sense of self as it is while showing us that it's all worth it in the long run.

And though there is a moment when we might have seen some foreshadow that Elizabeth might have tried to communicate with them. There really is not enough to whet the appetite for some of us who want to know more about what happened to her.

We could use some more Star Svendotter books.

J.L. Dobias

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