01/03/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: TOR/Starscape. 236 page small hardback. Price: $16.95 (US), $18.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7653-2107-7).
check out website: www.tor-forge.comwww.domtesta.com and www.ClubGalahad.com
Who would have thought about the effects caused when the Earth passed through the tail of the comet Bhaktul in the near future. It happens here when a killer virus starts getting everyone over the age of eighteen. Under the control of Doctor Wallace Zimmer, a project is set up to send 251 young adults to another planet and preserve mankind and it has to be done before there are no adults left. There is opposition to this through a group led by a former friend, Tyler Scofield, but survival is essential. As the starship approaches Mars, there is a discovery that is an adult stowaway on board who intends to ensure they never leave the Solar System.
This story, ‘The Comet’s Curse’, by Dom Testa is written sides to middle. You see the opening weeks on the starship Galahad and the start of the project, from Zimmer’s point of view. This book is aimed at a youth audience so doesn’t get too technical but I would have thought a crew of 251 would mean one of them is going to end up being a lonely gooseberry as relationships develop. Considering that even in our present reality, China has its own space programme, you would have thought they or indeed any other country would have been doing something similar for their own young, even in the near future.
The focus on board the Galahad is with its controlling council and artificial intelligence computer Roc so we don’t see how representative its population is. As this is also the first of six books in this series that I’m going to be reading over the next few months, maybe there will be more of a discovery of how diverse they are. The twist as to who the stowaway is definitely spoiler territory and Testa will actually keep you guessing until the end.
Despite some criticisms, this book is actually very readable and adults as well as the younger generation will enjoy this solid story. Not too good for the future inhabitants of Earth but there’s some hope for mankind’s survival.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA