Sunday, December 18, 2016

REVIEW: Redshift Rendezvous


Redshift Rendezvous
By: John E. Stith

Genre: Hard Science Fiction
Publisher: ReAnimus Press
Publication date: 11.15.2016
Pages: 323

Recommended by: Read 2 Review
Date read: 12.17.2016


In my lifetime of reading, there are very few times that I have ever DNF-ed a book.  I'm always convinced that, if I put it down and come back to it later, I may enjoy the book more, and I actually have a folder on my Kindle for books that I need to come back and look at later on.  

This book was almost put into that folder.  More than once.

I found the first 32% of it to be very tedious.  It wasn't the "hard science" that was the problem - I actually prefer that over just regular science fiction - but the fact that things about the ship were repeated over and over again, in different ways.  It actually became quite annoying, reading an explanation again, wondering why the author kept deciding to explain this, as if his readers were complete idiots.  (Hard science fiction readers tend to read a lot of hard science fiction books, and they shouldn't be treated like that.)  Sometimes it is really hard for me to read a book without being an editor, and this was one of those times.  The story itself needed so much cleaning up that it left me quite frustrated.  On top of that, there were several times that the wrong word was used in the manuscript - and not just once, but several times with the same word.

There was an "underlying" story - a mystery, an adventure, some bad guys (ones you expected and ones you didn't), and two characters (Jason and Tara) - that kept me coming back to read more.  Unfortunately, with all the focus on the Redshift, all of that gets sort of lost, at least for a time, and felt rather secondary, instead of being the main focus of the story.  Having finished the book, I realize that what I thought was an "underlying" story was actually the main plot.  Unfortunately, with the beginning of the story as it was, it took me until the end to realize all that.

The book really picks up once the ship gets close to Xanahalla.  The adventure begins before that, and on the way you learn a lot about the two main characters, but once there, what you think you know changes, and I had a hard time putting the book down.  There is a bit of romance, but not enough to take away from the story, and it actually drives the characters a little more than they may have been without that.

I enjoyed the ending.  With all of that buildup, I'm glad that the end wasn't too easy... and that sometimes there's just a little bit more around the corner.

At the end of the book, the author includes a "Phenomena Aboard the Redshift" section, which I think would have benefited the reader a lot more had he put it at the beginning of the book, or at least included a page that let them know about this so, if they were curious about certain things, they would know it was there to find.  It would have definitely taken away from all that tedious repetitiveness at the beginning.

The book has some good and bad moments, but I am glad that I fought through it to find out what happened.


About the book:
One man must stop starship hijackers from using an unusual starship to plunder a wealthy colony.  Aboard the Redshift, light moves so slowly you can see its passages, and relativistic tricks are an integral part of shipboard life.  Flip a light switch and see the room slowly fill with light.  Run fast, and the view ahead shifts to blue, and you can create sonic booms.  One component of the book is that slow-light thought experiment, a la Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott or Mr. Tomkins in Wonderland by George Gamow.

About the author:
Science-fiction author John E. Stith's works include Redshift RendezvousManhattan TransferReunion on Neverend, and Reckoning Infinity.
            His other novels are ScapescopeMemory BlankDeath Tolls, and Deep Quarry.  
            He's the author of All for Naught, which collections "Naught for Hire" and "Naught Again," both first appearing in Analog.

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