Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Zero G, by the prolific Alton Gansky

Does this guy ever stop writing? Thank God the answer to that is: "No."

And now, for a humble yet stimulating review by moi. :)

If the last time you had flown into space, a disaster of mass proportions happened to you and your team, what would it take to get you up there again? How long would it take before you were mentally and emotionally able to lead another mission? And even if you were ready, would NASA let you pilot again?

These are the questions Ben “Tuck” Tucker must face. Former space shuttle commander for NASA, he is one of the most celebrated pilots in recent history. Unfortunately, his rise to hero status involved a terrifying calamity involving faulty dermal patches. Instead of helping astronauts deal with the effects of microgravity, they dealt a fatal blow.

At a time Tuck least expects, multi-millionaire entrepreneur Ted Roos approaches him with a proposition: pilot the first commercial spacecraft for his new company. Despite his reservations, it’s an offer Tuck can’t refuse.

A mysterious adversary bent on vengeance seeks to destroy Tuck and anyone else who gets in his way. Tuck must find the faith he lost long ago in order to save innocent lives.

Gansky creates quite a complicated plot system, though some aspects are a bit predictable. I do like how the reader doesn’t find out why the bad guy is doing what he’s doing (aside from the fact that he’s off balance) until near the end. It kept me wondering, engaged, and on edge throughout the entire story.

Another interesting aspect is Tuck’s relationship with his family, despite a lack of communication and real understanding. Tuck’s family worries about him when he’s space bound, and wish he would never go up again. Not comprehending this, and being absorbed with his own problems, Tuck keeps them at arm’s length unknowingly. But misfortune has a way of clarifying priorities and strengthening faith. They all learn from their trials and wind up closer than ever.

Suspense fans who enjoy the combination of astronauts/space travel (vaguely reminiscent of Randy Ingermanson and John Olson’s Oxygen and The Fifth Man) and biological scientific research (an element that can also be found in Gansky’s Finder’s Fee), should enjoy Zero G. I recommend it as heartily as I have every other Gansky novel I’ve read, which has been all of them.

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