March 21, 2005

BOOKS, The Getaway Special, Jerry Oltion (2001)

Self-proclaimed "mad scientist" Allen Meisner has invented a hyperdrive engine, which he decides to share with the world. Surely, he thinks, the new frontiers offered by cheap, easily accessible faster-than-light travel will help bring peace to the world; why fight with your neighbors when you can simply head into space, find a habital planet, and form a new society that's to your own liking? Surely there'll be no more need for war or petty squabbling among nations!

Yeah, right.

It doesn't take Allen long to realize how far off track he was. Give the world a new form of power, and the nations of the world will each be determined to control that power. And so, Allen and his girlfriend/co-pilot Judy head off into space on their own private Star Trek, seeking out new worlds yadda yadda.

They find interesting planets, meet nifty aliens, and get home in time to save the Earth from blowing itself up. It's all very pleasant and breezy; the aliens are convincingly alien; and if the story is a bit rambling, well, that's part of the charm.

It seems almost mandatory these days for a story like this to carry a libertarian message; while it's true that the principal villains of the story are Governments (boo! hiss!), the political content is much less heavy-handed here than is often the case.

Pleasant enough reading that there's already another Oltion novel in my stack of checked-out library books.

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