Book Review: Starswarm

Title: Starswarm
Author: Jerry Pournelle
Published: 1999 by Tor
ISBN: 0812538935

It's been a while since I've read a work of fiction, and even longer since I picked up any science fiction. That's a real shame because there's some good stuff out there. I learned about Jerry Pournelle from the TWiT podcast, which I listen to regularly. On the show he seems to be quite abreast of technology and somebody (could have been him, not sure) recommended Starswarm as a good first read of his. That's how this book and I became acquainted.

The story is about a boy named Kip who lives on a planet named Paradise, somewhere far far away from Earth. It's a colony run by a corporation named Great Western Enterprises. The planet is fairly earth-like, although not a clone by any means. First thing you might notice would be the blue sun. The local flora and fauna are different, although similar too. Some of the notables include centaurs, haters and the lovable starswarm. The latter is some kind of a water based plant which can grow to immense proportions but is largely misunderstood by the humans.

Well it turns out that Kip isn't an ordinary boy. For starters he has a computer chip in his head which he can use to talk to a mainframe computer. He's also not who he thinks he is. During the course of the book, he does eventually find the truth (which I'm trying hard not to give away). The events leading up to the discovery and those that unfold afterwards are pretty interesting and exciting.

I was rather pleased with the book. It held my interest well and I finished it in about a week. The story flowed smoothly and the science all seemed to fit in with the environment.

The one complaint I might make would be that the book ends rather abruptly. One page there's an intense standoff and the very next the book is over. There is very little in the way of resolution beyond a quick hand wave that "they lived happily ever after". In one way that might be a good thing as it left more pages to be filled with helicopter chases, gun fights and other assorted excitements. On his website, Pournelle indicates that Starswarm may be developed into a series, something that I'm certain it would be well suited for.

I enjoyed the book immensely and would recommend it to others. I undoubtedly will read more Pournelle novels.



i know you

i know you

from bralen

re: i know you

Eek! They found me. Run away, run away! :)

Thanks for visiting, Bralen.

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