Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lodestar by Michael Flynn

Lodestar (Firestar Saga)Well, it's a little difficult to drop in right in the middle of a series and review that book, without saying a bit about the earlier books. Lodestar is the third in a series of four books by Flynn, beginning with Firestar, continued in Rogue Star, and ending in Falling Stars. The central figure in all of the books is Mariesa Van Huyten, the heiress to a large fortune and CEO of a rather large industrial conglomerate. When Mariesa was young, she saw a falling star streaking through the sky, and had an epiphany which terrified her. What if an asteroid of considerable size were to strike the Earth. The disaster which would unfold must somehow be prevented. When she comes of age, she determines to bend all of the efforts of her family's companies to getting the world back into space on a sustained basis, and establishing an asteroid shield of some sort.

With that goal in mind, we have a lovely time through the first two books watching as Mariesa and the people who work for and with her fight the good fight against bureaucracy, apathy and ignorance to get SSTOs running, space stations built, and make the whole thing commercially self-supporting. Anyone who's read much SF has seen the scenario a million times, but Flynn tells an engrossing tale - kinda like Tom Clancy without guns - very detail oriented.

So, by the time we get to LodeStar, there are shuttles going back and forth to a commercial space station in Low Earth Orbit. Mariesa has lost control of her company, but still weilds some power behind the scenes. Her cousin Chris is now CEO, and his son, Adam, has apparently betrayed or sabotaged their long term plans by selling his shares of company stock to a competitor, who now controls the space station.

In this book, the major action takes place in cyberspace, rather than outer space. Adam, it turns out, didn't knowlingly or willingly sell out the company, and the trail to find the real bad guys leads through virtual reality. So, a character who played a bit part in the earlier novels, Jimmy Poole, of Poole ESecurity, really gets developed and struts his stuff. Revenge of the Geeks, eh?

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