Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Written on


By Tia Nevitt

Thank you, Heather, for asking me to post this.

When I first heard about THE OUTBACK STARS, I immediately wanted to read it. As a former enlisted airman, I'm still interested in everything military. And I was intrigued by the fact that Jodenny and Myell are supply weasels. Yup, that's what we called them in the Air Force. It's not exactly a heroic occupation. And I spent some time as a . . . er . . . supply weasel myself, albeit as a civilian working for the military once I was discharged. (My occupation in the Air Force was considerably more exciting--aircraft mechanic!)

(More below the cut)

Anyway, the interesting thing about this series is in the first book, you'll think of it as solid science fiction with some fantastical elements. And in the second book (THE STARS DOWN UNDER), those fantastical elements jump to the foreground. And the third book (THE STARS BLUE YONDER) is a time-traveling romp that is just too fun. But the point is, by the end of the series, it is equal parts science fiction and fantasy.

The first book takes place almost entirely on a spaceship, and it is both exciting and humorous. It features a great villain, and probably the most exciting ending of the trilogy. As is typical with most trilogies, this series has a bit of "murky middle" syndrome with the second book. Although I enjoyed the book and flew right through it, it had many aspects that just confused me until I got to the third book. I was also intrigued enough to read the next novel.

And the third book was just fun. Time travel has enduring popularity as a fiction subject because one, it is utterly impossible and two, it is fun to imagine how we would do either in the past or the future, knowing what we know now.

The author, Sandra McDonald, lives in my town. When I first emailed her, she immediately proposed coffee. We met at Starbucks, and she presented me with her novel. She then proceeded to dazzle me with all her insider knowledge of the publishing industry. Due to her heavy attendance at various writing workshops, Sandra knows some heavy-hitters in the industry. We've met a few times since then, as well. She is funny, bright, and a fascinating conversationalist.

As for what we discussed, my lips are sealed.