Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Billion Dollar Boy, by Charles Sheffield

The Billion Dollar Boy (Jupiter)This novel is one in a series of juveniles called the Jupiter novels, that authors like Sheffield and Pournelle have been publishing recently. Billion Dollar Boy is a story of a spoiled rich kid, Shelby Crawford Jerome Prescott Cheever V, who is rescued by a transuranic harvester ship in the Messina Cloud after a mishap with the transportation system during a tour of the outer solar system. The harvester is not scheduled to return to the solar system for several months, so Shelby has to himself useful by working as crew on the ship while waiting to be returned home.

Needless to say, Shelby must do a lot of growing up during his sojourn on the harvester ship. The pampered child learns a lot about work, friendship and responsibility.

While the characters are likable and the story amusing, I'm afraid that this sort of juvenile novel just won't catch on with today's teens. You've got to pack in a lot more intense action than say, Heinlein or Del Rey did in their pre-Nintendo juvenile novels that got many of us hooked. If you're looking for a dose of nostalgia in a new twist on Between Planets, then go ahead and read this one, otherwise...

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