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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Coyote by Allen Steele

Coyote (Coyote Trilogy, #1)Coyote by Allen Steele

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  Coyote is an astonishing discovery, a habitable moon in a solar system 40-odd light years from Earth. A despotic post-US government decides to colonise this precious find and constructs the starship Alabama. The ship is about to launch when it is hijacked by its own crew. Instead of the intended party loyalists, it is populated with malcontents and social dissidents who must learn to work together in the struggle to reach and then conquer their prize: Coyote. Vast in scope, passionate in its conviction, and set against a backdrop of completely plausible events, Coyote tells the story of Earth’s first extra-solar colonists, and the mysterious planet that becomes their home.

Read for May 2015 book group.  I really wanted to rate this 2.5 between "it was okay" and "I liked it". 

I read an excerpt of this in Azimov's (or was it Analog?) years and years ago, and was annoyed with the book at the time.  I kept this in mind as I was looking for ideas for book group - sometimes a questionable book becomes a very interesting discussion.

While I didn't have the same "this book pisses me off" reaction, I wasn't exactly thrilled with it either.  The book is broken up into three parts:  escape from Earth, establish colony, the "next generations" personal thoughts as they reminisce being teens on a colony.  Taken as a whole, I had more issues with the plot than not.

Part one:  Earth's democracy is gone.  It's some kind of Republic lead by predominantly southern states.  Scientists have been dubbed "dissident intellectuals" if they disagree with the new Republic and they and their families are sent to concentration camps to be reformed.  A group of these scientists and families are secretly gathered up and manage a 45 person swap on the colony ship Alabama.  While the ship is being hijacked, four armed soldiers are in essence, kidnapped.  Right.  45 people are smuggled in under intense security and media, and only four individuals are sent up to stop a ship of 100+ from being hijacked.

Part two:  Purpose was to get people down to the planet and start killing them off.  This read a bit like an episode of Star Trek, except everyone but the Captain is a Red Shirt.  Our small group of armed soldiers still have delusions of something rather than sucking it up and helping colony with survival.

Part three:  Teenage angst and romance.  Coming of age story.  I had the most problems with part three.  You bring a bunch of teenagers (and adults) to a colony planet, you put a moratorium on new births, but you don't give anyone birth control.  WTF?

And this is where I will leave off, because anything more becomes plot spoiler. 

So I found this to be a fairly quick read, it has some issues with plot and character execution, and a few points that could have been smoothed out.  If you like exploring new frontiers, man against planet, colonization, this would be the book for you.

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