The Outback Stars (Review)

The Outback Stars (Review)

nother one from the used book shop, this time a military-grade page turner about… shipboard life on a starship.

I thought this was a book of an ongoing series (turns out it’s the first one, I think) – Lieutenant Jodenny Scott survived a horrific terrorist attack on her last ship, one that left her burned and burdened with survivors’ guilt. And just as it takes her a while to return to active service (don’t worry – we don’t get dragged through her convalescence – she didn’t like it any more than we would have), it takes us a while to find out what is going on in this strange new universe.

Earth has been racked with so many environmental disasters now that it’s taken to naming its ships after them (lest we forget). But some sort of wormholes have been discovered, ones that permit these massive ships to leave the Sol System and plunge out to the Seven Sisters cluster (which I have viewed and have a soft spot in my heart for, HERE). There, we have discovered ancient artifacts, rock domes that are arranged in certain ways, all that is left of this one-time race.

So, that aside, Lt Scott uses her hero’s status to get back into space as quickly as possible. Bumping herself aboard the Aral Sea, she finds herself assigned as a supply officer in one of the support divisions. Now, this caught my eye – my old man was a supply officer and I’d have loved to passed this book on to him – I’m sure he’d have loved a hero after his own career path. Regardless, her division is in shambles. The droids that work the supply racks are fitful, her people casual and rumors of pilferage abound. So she starts pushing back, the usual “whip them into shape” deal that goes passably well.

However, she’s got other problems – one of her chiefs, a badgered young man, has caught her eye (talk about forbidden love). And one of the ship’s scientists has come to her with a wacky theory regarding her former ship, the gutted Yangtze, and what might have really happened.

I’ll give this book a very favorable review – I’m not sure how Sandra McDonald did it, but a book about shipboard infighting and petty squabbles and sexual tension was really very interesting – I found myself resuming my practice of reading for a bit before bed and at odd weekend chances, just to move further into the story. Very well written.

Further, there was a moment were something very, very, VERY unlikely happens. I blinked at that, then shrugged it off. Then, in a very opportune moment, it happens again. I felt myself groan at this – we were getting along so well, book, and then you had to drop this clunker in. But eventually it does make sense and slots right into the storyline like a strangely shaped (perhaps alien-shaped) part. So I could let it go. The book and I could be friends.

All things said, it was a good, not a hair-on-fire page-turner but just a fun read. I saw that she was working on “The further adventures of…” but didn’t see it over at the local Barnes and Noble (check Amazon? You know me better). But yes, a solid recommendation from me. I’m sure my dad would have enjoyed it as well.