Cold Iron & Rowan-Wood

June 25, 2009

Mike Scott Rohan – Run for the Stars

Filed under: review,sf — Tags: , , , — Sam @ 1:48 pm

This is his first book, and completely unlike the others – interestingly, it’s the only one where he published as Mike rather than Michael. It’s fairly standard early 1980s if-this-goes-on SF – the Cold War became hot, the Earth is run by a hereditary bureaucracy, and the Big Bad polity is “the African junta”. Pleasantly, though, the only dark-skinned characters we see are good guys.

What it most reminded me of, from the blurb, is McCaffrey’s Decision at Doona – brave throwbacks escape a crowded, repressed, enervated Earth for the stars. It’s not a fair comparison, though, and not only because it’s very much a 1980s vision of the future rather than a 1960s one – the focus of Run for the Stars is almost entirely on the preparations to leave, and on opposing the evil bureaucracy who don’t understand the Importance Of Space, and they don’t even get to the colony planet before the end of the book.

It’s also a first contact novel of sorts, though the only contact they have is a short exchange of maser-radio messages and a couple of missiles. It’s a downbeat sort of book, given that the take-home message seems to be that civilizations decay and change, and that alien governments can be paranoid and evil too. Pleasantly, though, we have sympathetically drawn pacifist characters (religious pacifist, at that) and the one space battle is to preserve rather than to destroy.

Overall verdict: slight, but interesting enough.

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