Other information

Also writes non-fiction as John Grant

Books : reviews

Paul Barnett.
Strider's Galaxy.
Legend. 1997

rating : 3 : worth reading
review : 25 March 1997

It's 500 years in the future; the Earth has been devastated by wars and ecological disasters and is slowly dying; Mars has been colonised, but is still fragile. Now a probe has sent back news that Tau Ceti II might be habitable. Is this humanity's last chance?

Well, if it is, tough. The sub-light starship sent out to explore, captained by the eponymous Leonie Strider, is sucked into a wormhole before it's hardly out of the Solar System, and flung halfway across the Universe, into the middle of a galactic war.

There's only a little depth of characterisation or analysis, but this is offset by the breadth of scenery and variety of aliens --- although the tyrants are rather clichéd in their stupidity and lust for genocide, they aren't in their physiology: over half the alien species satisfyingly fail to be humanoid bipeds. Once the starship has emerged from the wormhole the breathless pace hardly lets up.

The cover blurb says this "mixes the epic colour and action of Star Wars with the sophistication of Iain Banks' Culture novels". It doesn't --- it has nothing like the depth and background of the Culture --- but it is an entertaining space opera romp. And although it is billed as "Book One of the Strider Chronicles", there is enough of an ending that it can be read as a satisfying stand-alone story, whilst leaving room for a sequel.

Paul Barnett.
Strider's Universe.
Orbit. 1998