Review: Shuttle Rising: To Rendezvous With A Rumor
Author: Charles Boyle: ISBN: 0965721450 The following review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN: Editor of Bookpleasures. CLICK TO VIEW Norm Goldman's Reviews To read Norm's Interview With the...
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Charles Boyle's absorbing tale, Shuttle Rising: To Rendezvous With A Rumor makesexcellent use of his profound knowledge of space research and technologyresulting in some very imaginative plot twists. Boyle's writing has appeared inScience and Omni magazines and he has served as space flight editor for theMcGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. He was also the EducationalPrograms Manager for Earth Sciences at the Goddard Space Flight Center.
The narrative opens when the Technical Director of the CIA, Mike Benson, isinformed by a doctoral candidate of a mysterious signal that has been detectedfrom a listening scan of the night sky.
After some speculation, it is deduced that a Russian satellite, (given the nameIvan), is a remnant from the last century and seems to be calling somebody.However, it is not known who, how or why? In addition, it is believed that thereis a timer set to go off once a year on the fourth of July, only over thecontinental USA, and in the hydrogen wavelength.
Due to the Soviet's practice of secrecy and their total absence of confessing toany shortcomings, you never knew when their space ventures succeeded or failed.Could it be the unthinkable that Ivan was one of their failures? That a Russiancosmonaut was used as fodder for their space experimentations and is dead inorbit?
Meanwhile, as the plot unfolds, the United Nations is presented with aresolution pertaining to the“Open Lands Treaty,” whereby all nations would voteto eliminate nuclear weapons. If passed, it would mean that each nation wouldconsent to having inspectors on its own soil in order to confirm that the treatyis honored. The Russians are appalled at such a requirement and refuse to goalong with the proposal stating that it would be placing spies in their midst.
This now sets the stage for the USA to try and prove that the Russians are infact trying to hide something and that one of their cosmonauts has been lost inspace. Once this is accomplished, the Russians will come back and sign thetreaty.
One of America's leading astronauts, Distinguished Service Award winner, AdamMacGregor along with his side kick Tim Carver are called upon to seize andretrieve Ivan and bring it back to earth. Perhaps, they will even succeed inshowing evidence that it contains a dead cosmonaut?
The Russians are apprised as to what is transpiring through information theyobtained from a mole they have placed within the American space agency. All hellbreaks loose and they accuse the Americans of piracy and imperialisticinterference in the internal affairs of other nations.
All of this leads to some some extremely dangerous shenanigans between theRussians and the Americans. There is also the possibility that Russianastronauts have been left in hibernation-like states, known as suspendedanimation, as is sometimes depicted in science fiction films.
This is a gripping novel narrated with great verve, as its sweeps its readersinto the world of space research and adventure.
As the pieces slowly fall into place, readers realize that there is much more tothis novel than just recovering a lost Russian spaceship. Working severalthreads within the principal plot, Boyle provokes a great deal of thought andspeculation pertaining to space research and “what if” scenarios. However, fromtime to time the excessive use of technical jargon, as well as the questionablerelevance of some of the scenes, particularly between McGregor and the Russianastronaut Ylena, somewhat hinders the pace of the narrative.
Notwithstanding this shortcoming, the novel still leaves us sated, yet desiring more. It is a thriller that delivers a great deal of action, but perhaps to those of us who are not very knowledgeable about space, little plausibility-nonetheless we love the suspense!
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Norm Goldman is the Editor of the book reviewing and author interviewing site, Bookpleasures.com.
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