Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Where The Underworld Can Meet The Elite [Review: Mostly Harmless]

Angel Rose: pilot, interstellar trader and disappointment to her parents. Desperate to pay her debts, escape her mother's somewhat unhelpful matchmaking efforts, and get away from her drab home planet of Slough, she agrees to ship a cargo of gold across a pirate-infested region of space. It's fair to say her mission doesn't entirely go to plan and Angel is about to learn some important lessons about survival, join the quest for an ancient alien artefact, and make some new friends - not necessarily friends that would meet her parents' approval.

Mostly Harmless is a novel set in the Elite universe, written by Kate Russell. Although the author is an accomplished technology journalist and writer, this is her first novel but it's confidently written, packed with interesting characters, and really brings out the danger and paranoia of the Elite setting, while throwing in plenty of humour - as the title might suggest, there's a hint of Douglas Adams in the writing style. Also, as another reviewer pointed out there are three strong women in pivotal roles - is there a Bechdel test for novels?

This novel was supported by a Kickstarter campaign and was part of the meta-funding campaign for the Elite: Dangerous game which has just been released as a beta. Kate's campaign rewards included the opportunity to name a character in the novel who would be guaranteed a gory, painful death. Let's just say the book delivers on this front too.

The end result is an enjoyable and satisfying space opera - and perhaps a promising start to a fiction-writing career.


Maurice Mitchell said...

Douglas Adams was the first thing I thought of with this book. A Bechdel test for books would be awesome and this one would probably pass.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

It's good to see Douglas Adams still inspires new (and less new) writers.