Friday, 4 July 2014

Book Impressions - Ship of Storms by Ken Doggett

There's some interesting ideas in this book that kept me reading it although unfortunately it didn't quite follow through with them. The biggest example is the 'Jupiter Effect' which is the term for a psychological effect when astronauts fly to the outer planets (although earlier in the story a similar effect is described for those on long tours which doesn't make as much sense when you find out what is happening). Now I quite liked the idea of it and it's a key component throughout the story and then right at the end you're told what the cause is. I don't object to the cause, it's a clever idea and makes sense in the context of the world, however more could have been done in the investigation rather than just saying this was the reason.

A similar pattern can be seen with other aspects of the story. There's some interesting glimpses of the wider world and the life styles of people in the future. For the most part little is done with these except as a canvas for the mental state of the subject. Which is fine for the story, but as a reader I wanted to know more. Similarly for the long journey, the whole end sequence is skipped where there was clearly a lot happening which is just skipped over.

The time scales all seemed off kilter as well. Once you travel a certain distance away from Earth the signal lag makes it difficult and eventually impossible to maintain a conversation. While this is mentioned in the text it never follows in the conversations which read as if the characters were next to each other. That might seem a minor point to some, but I found it quite distracting.

So far this is a negative review and that's a little unfair because this is not a bad book. The writing is competent, it's well paced and carries the story in a decent fashion. However I feel that with further development this could have been an excellent sci-fi read rather than just an okay one.

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Mars is Earth's most distant colony, and for good reason. Apparent deep psychological problems involving the giant outer planets have barred any further outward expansion. And now even Mars is breaking away, as its rebel leaders seem more than willing to risk hostilities with Earth's formidable military. To make matters worse, in history's first interplanetary war ever, the hellish "Jupiter Effect" resurfaces. This means launching an urgent study to resolve that age-old problem before Terran authorities can even hope to put down the rebellion. Dr. Paul Werner, psyche-reader, is assigned.

But the subject Werner finds best suited for the study, Marcus Ramsey-Legend, is himself a source of problems. He has already wasted one lifetime, mostly as a "Villain," trained in the role by the Enclave of the Villainy. Now, having undergone the medical process of rejuvenation, he has managed to put his second life into disarray. He's currently in the second year of a 43-year prison sentence for his violent past, and it's obvious to Dr. Werner at first meeting that he's developed a disdain for all authority. Even with his tentative cooperation, the triggers for his entire persona must be unraveled before all of the psychological implications related to The Jupiter Effect can be studied--with the added complication that he has a hidden agenda of his own. As that agenda takes him into space in Earth's premier battleship, he finds that war is just the beginning of what is likely to be the ride of his life--and death.

No comments:

Post a Comment

My Books on Goodreads