June 10, 2005

BOOKS: Anywhere But Here, Jerry Oltion (2005)

Sequel to The Getaway Special, which I commented on here.

Trent and Donna Stinson, who were minor characters in the first book, take center stage for what is essentially a rewrite of the first book: A likable couple leaves Earth in their pickup truck, tricked out with a new hyperdrive engine, in search of habitable planets and friendly aliens.

There's a bit more focus this time around on the dangers and difficulties of interstellar travel. Aliens are generally hostile; it's harder to find breathable air and drinkable water; and battery power is constantly running low. There's not a lot of plot, and the book is more a series of puzzles, as we watch to see how Trent and Donna will get themselves out of their latest fix.

The increasingly unstable political situation on Earth hovers in the background of the book, as it did in Getaway Special, and the ending suggests that if there's a third volume in this series, that situation will move to the foreground, which would make a nice change. Oltion's writing is entertaining, but I don't think a third book of amiable meandering through the universe would hold my interest.

No comments: