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Anywhere But Here Hardcover – February 10, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Nebula-winner Oltion's 2001 novel, The Getaway Special, explored how the near-future discovery of a cheap, simple interstellar drive prompted anyone on Earth with enough nerve to take off for the stars, leaving terrestrial governments fuming at the loss of their renegade citizens. In this meandering but satisfying sequel, things have gotten worse, especially in an increasingly paranoid America. Trent and Donna Stinson, of Rock Springs, Wyo., decide to climb into their pickup truck and head for Alpha Centauri. They're a laid-back couple, perfectly willing to share new planets with aliens as long as they can earn enough to live and then relax with a few beers. When the U.S. government interferes and they wind up lost in space, Trent and Donna start working hard to find their way home and clean up the mess back on Earth. There's not much glamour in this space opera, as shown by a weightless Trent struggling to take off lug nuts so he can remove truck tires in interplanetary space. Oltion has carefully thought out the mechanics of such situations, which serve to support the book's upbeat message: If you keep cool, you probably can get out of whatever trouble you've gotten yourself into.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Oltion's Getaway Special (2001) explored the far-fetched scenario of ordinary citizens outfitting pickup trucks and SUVs with cheap interstellar hyperdrives and emigrating to other planets. In this somewhat meandering sequel, things have gotten so bad, what with unemployment and the increasingly fascistic American government, that working-class couple Trent and Donna Stinson, of Rock Springs, Wyoming, decide to head for nearby Alpha Centauri. On the orbiting planet Onnescu, they begin to find a semblance of greener pastures, making friends with the original settlers and even picking up a little work. But the dream ends abruptly when, during a side trip to another planet, Trent and Donna are nearly killed by agents of their own government. All too quickly, they find themselves stranded on a remote planet, struggling to survive and praying for a miracle to return them to Earth. While Oltion spends perhaps too many pages detailing the perils and mechanics of hyperdrive jumps, he includes enough colorful aliens and action to satisfy Getaway Special fans, at least. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
It is now illegal to build a hyperdrive vehicle and leave the planet because much of America's most precious resources, the people, are gone. After Trent and Judy Stinson lose their jobs they decide to visit the colonized worlds but while on the French planet of Mirabeau, the United States attacks using asteroid rocks as bombs. When they leave, they become lost in space and end up in an unexplored part of the galaxy. They find a habitable planet so they can fix their damaged hyperdrive but must depart quickly though there are no direct life forms dangerous to humans, the game and water is inimical to Earthlings.
Freedom is a powerful motivator for people to leave their homeland and go to the stars but the Stinsons really want to find a way to change how government operates so it could once again be the land of the free. Homeland security has become a dictatorial giant imagining enemies when none exist and drive people to do the very things they outlaw. Jerry Oltion is a master storyteller who takes readers on a spaceship ride that is exciting, dangerous and fun. Visiting inhabited colonized worlds and orbs where no sentient life exist makes this work of science fiction a great treat for armchair travelers who want to go stellar from their home.
This is a weaker sequel to his lively and entertaining The Getaway Special (2002, recommended), which, you may recall, was cheap star travel in septic-tank spaceships. Here they've advanced to sealed-cab electric pickups, with the Secret Stardrive module hidden inside. Which is illegal in a cartoonishly-obtuse USA. Does have a nice Heinleinian wild-planet romance/problem-solving story nested within. C+, has moments.
Peter D. Tillman