Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Star Beast is a 1954 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about a high school senior who discovers that his late father's extra-terrestrial pet is more than it appears to be. The novel was originally serialised in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (May, June, July 1954) as "Star Lummox" and then published in hardcover as part of the Scribner's Heinlein juveniles. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

Darn! Not in print - only used copies available at B&N. Few libraries had it - I just re-read a copy I bought in a used bookstore. Check here for library copies.

Interesting that this is considered a juvenile - considering the issues like children being able to divorce their parents was part of the story - a challenging issue TODAY, let alone in 1954, when it was published. A great story, IMNSHO. I love these paleo-futures (futures from yesterday.) I find intriguing that - in 1954! - one of the primary characters, Mr. Kiku, is a black African (from Kenya, I think) who is a career bureaucrat - but a good one - who really runs the "Department of Space," even though he is the under-secretary (the Secretary is a know-nothing political appointee). Also interesting was how many of the principal adult characters smoked - bits of business were used all over in the story about this. Looking for cigarettes, trying to light them, etc. - odd how dated that seems.

A very interesting story and thoughtful. Also clever in its multiple view points (John, the hero, Lummox, the beast, Mr. Kiku and the other people from the Department of Space). I wish more SF like this was being written now.

Ice Run

by Steve Hamilton
Search for title: HCL RCL MPL SPPL MnLINK

Ohhhh-kay! Kinda intense - more Alex Hamilton never gets much of a break, does he?

Alex McKnight is in love. Even though he met Natalie Reynaud, an officer from the Ontario Provincial Police, under difficult circumstances, they share a common bond of solitude, as well as the same nightmare - they're both cops who buried their partners. It's Alex's first real relationship in years, which in some ways is terrifying. But Natalie has her own fears to deal with, and her own secrets.
And then it gets messy, brutal and violent. Lots of death, lots of pain - and only a little happiness for Alex. And, I fear not happiness that will last too long into the next book.... But a good read.