From Publishers Weekly
Readers hungry for the thought-provoking extrapolation and rigorous technical detail of old-fashioned hard SF are sure to enjoy astronomer Brotherton's first novel. The thinly characterized crew of the Karamojo has been hand-picked to travel 250 light years to SS Cygni, a binary star system, to capture a star dragon, an exotic creature seemingly comprised of stellar plasma and magnetic fields. Despite her "striking" good looks, Capt. Lena Fang is all business, only revealing her "feminine" side in the "timelessly girlish" trappings of her private quarters, and in her dealings with the ship's AI, modeled on a decidedly soft-hearted vision of Hemingway. In contrast, exobiologist Dr. Samuel Fisher and biosystems engineer Axelrod Henderson are both uptight and ruthlessly focused on their work. Fisher's manipulative sexual relationship with Fang threatens the crew's ability to work together, while Henderson secretly plots to release a virus that will impregnate every female on Earth with his offspring. When they eventually reach SS Cygni, the star dragons prove surprisingly sneaky. Brotherton's strength is in the technical rigor of his setting, with truly alien creatures and biomods that can alter the human body into the most exotic of life forms. Readers willing to overlook the less-than-convincing characters will find an amazingly detailed world and a story full of scientific wonder.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* A probe launched in the late twenty-first century to the classic dwarf nova system SS Cygni has sent back hours of video, including a few minutes that show a serpentine form not only twisting lazily but also turning in a purposive way suggestive of intelligence. The Biolathe Corporation is sending a spaceship to study the dragonlike form, determine whether it is of natural or artificial origin, and, perhaps, return with a specimen. The round-trip voyage will take about three years of the crew's subjective time; meanwhile, 500 years will have passed on Earth. Eagerly joining the crew of three men and two women, exobiologist Sam Fisher becomes ever more obsessed with what he considers his
dragon. Star Dragon
is steeped in cosmology, the physics of interstellar travel, exobiology, artificial intelligence (in the form of the ship's brain, which is modeled on Ernest Hemingway), bioscience, and other things. Just as important to the plot are the dynamics and interactions of the very well developed characters, each of whom has personal reasons for making the long journey. Brotherton, author of many scientific articles in refereed journals, has written a dramatic, provocative, utterly convincing hard-science sf novel that includes an ironic twist that fans will love. Sally EstesCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved