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Beachhead Paperback – May, 1993
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
Choppy would be an understatement for the final 15% of the book. Details are skipped over as if the the last 15% of the book had been heavily edited out by at least three-quarters. The plot takes huge leapfrogs, which left me 1) scrathing my head in disbelief, 2) groping for the credibility of such a leap and 3) details for how the transition happened.
Regardless of all the above, the story was satisfactory. At times the heart goes out for the settlers through the betrayal, hardships and joys.
Beachhead was published in the early 1990's, at approximately the same time as several other stories written about the Red Planet by other authors. Beachhead does not hold its own when compared to Robinson's Mars Trilogy or even Bova's Mars. There is simply no grand sense of wonder; and little detailed exploration of this new frontier as was present in the similar stories just noted. Though Williamson does introduce at least one new idea. A member of the first crew to arrive at Mars is a complete coward...not something I would have thought to include had I been writing this story.
On the upside, the plot does move along relatively easily...at least once the story gets moving after the first quarter of the book or so. One does end up feeling something for the characters' plight in the latter half of the book and hope that events turn out in their favor. But again, the overall sense of WE ARE HERE is simply missing.
I am normally a big fan of this subgenre...but this book just didn't do it for me. On the whole, Beachhead is only worth picking up if you are a die-hard scifi or Mars exploration (and I use this term loosely) fan.