Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Survival Test, by David Burkhead, aka thewriterinblack

Man, I am THIS close to getting the sequence down for posting reviews.
Read the book. Got that.
It's what happens next that isn't stored in muscle memory yet.
First, I review on Amazon.
Then I wait for the review to post.
Then I go get the link.
THEN, and ONLY then, is it time for me to open this blog, copy the link, copy the review, preview, publish, and post on MGC and Facebook.
Only took me three attempts this time...

5.0 out of 5 stars
Hard science, with a kick you won't believe until you find out for yourself
March 4, 2015
By Pat Patterson (Woodstock, Georgia, USA)

This review is from: Survival Test (Kindle Edition)

There is a breath-stopping moment after the book is over. I'll get to that, but let me warn you that it's coming. It's a biggie.
About half the way through the book, I was struck by a desire to listen to music. I do not quite understand this. I understand even less why I chose what I did, which was a trio of songs by Future Folk: I can't Breathe Your Atmosphere, Spaceworms, and The Moons of Hondo. Maybe it's because General Trio and The Mighty Kevin wear those red buckets on their heads, and at several points in David's work, having a good helmet is the difference between life and death. And, people have to be moved around between habitats, which may explain why my last musical choice was Magic Bus, by The Who.
Music covered, I must also say that there were multiple scenes, including the opening scene, that just demanded that someone draw, paint, or otherwise graphically represent them. I really wanted to see the full earth and gibbous moon in the sky...
Hard. Science. Fiction. I thought multiple times," This is a book written by an engineer. Is David an engineer? He's got to be an engineer. Have I read his bio? I'll read it after." Okay, I looked it up. He ain't an engineer, maybe, technically, but he can sure hum the tune. Which he absolutely did in this book. It's as though he set himself a thought problem: what could go wrong in a living-in-space context? He makes a list, and then addresses every single one of these issues in the course of the novel.
Which is not to say that its ONLY science. Nope, there are some realistic portrayals of the people under stressful conditions, and how they might react. That's what keeps the book from being a series of problem solving exercises.
I am rather surprised that this book wasn't picked up by a mainstream publisher; but that takes me to the breath stopping surprise part: He wrote this in 1991. Yeah, that WAS before some key social and technological developments, but there is NOTHING in the book that sounds dated at all. Well, except for the fact that we walked away from space.
This is totally a Baen book. I don't know why it isn't. Timing, I suppose.

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