Sunday, August 7, 2011

Book Review: Variable Star

When it comes to fiction, one of the stranger events for me is when one author dies and another finishes his or her final book. Sometimes this can work out well, but I'm always hesitant with how the book will turn out in the end. Will it be a fine send off for a favourite author or will it be jarring and leave a bad taste in the mouth of the dedicated fan?

In terms of the book Variable Star, written by Robert A. Heinlein and, after his death, finished by Spider Robinson, I can honestly say this book was pretty great. It reminded me of all my favourite Heinlein novels and gave me a pretty satisfying story to boot.

The premise; Joel Johnston, a budding musician finds out his long-term girlfriend is actually one of the richest people on the planet and would like to be married. The only hiccup? Her father will basically own the young man and will groom him to rule the family business in the future. Joel's solution? Leave the planet on a long-term colonizing spaceship, aimed for a distant planet and due to arrive in about 30 years.

The novel is really good SF, but for the the best part of the story is the coming-of-age aspect for Joel himself. He grows up a lot through the story and I have to say that he comes across as both a nice guy and a really developed character.

The book is definitely worth the read, there are still many plot points I've left out and in the end, the human drama is really what drives the story

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