Imagine a socialist paradise that bankrupts itself to develop a single interstellar spacecraft, the USS Alabama, designed to escape the solar system and colonize a new world, called Coyote.
Imagine that the colonists for this new world have been carefully selected by the government, emphasizing political loyalty as much as scientific knowledge.  Imagine that in this dystopian society, dissidents who remember the dream of Liberty are regularly rooted out, arrested, and shipped to reeducation camps in cattle cars.  And, finally, imagine that the captain of the USS Alabama, one Robert E Lee, is just such a dissident -- as yet undetected, and leader of a
conspiracy to seize the Alabama, replacing her crew on the eve of launch with a new set of colonists.  Colonists who remember freedom.

If you can imagine that without straining your suspension of disbelief, you'll do just fine with this novel, which presents a fairly normal interstellar colonization story with a hint of politics in the background.  It's not a story that will make a vast emotional impact; in fact, many of the events which might be expected to have such an impact are downplayed.  Don't come into this story hoping for a rousing tale of freedom versus oppression; it will not deliver
that, and does not try.  (That attempt appears to be reserved for the sequel, Coyote Rising). 

While the book will hold your interest, it does not rate special notice.  Colonization junkies will be disappointed by the lack of detailed challenges to be overcome related to the new world, and political junkies will be disappointed by the lack of rhetoric or emotional impact.  If the book has a strong point, it would be interpersonal relations, and even that aspect is too weak to carry the whole story.

The only reason I can see to read this novel is to set up the sequel. 

This entry was published Sat Nov 26 12:29:46 CST 2005 by Matthew and last updated 2013-08-14 09:43:55.0.

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