I picked Take the Star Road, by Peter Grant, to read for this review because I love science fiction that harks back to the age of exploration, that celebrates humanity’s hunger for the stars, and most of all, tells a good story. I was rewarded with everything I had hoped for in this book.
The story opens with young Steve Maxwell, stranded half-way between Earth and the stars, on an orbital platform. He’s barely making it, taking whatever scutwork he can, and hoping for an opening on a ship. One night after work he comes to the rescue of his boss, and that leads to the opportunity he’s been waiting for.
Grant’s details are spot-on. Just enough about the ships, the physics of interstellar travel, and planetary trade to give you a well-developed universe, but balanced with enough story to keep you reading. I did find it was a touch stilted in places, and it would have been nice to have more tell and less show with incidents like Operation Sweet Tooth, but for a first novel it was remarkably well done. Not only the hero, Steve, grows through the book, but so do Grant’s writing skills. I am very much looking forward to the sequel.
The supporting characters are as well developed as Steve, and the sub-plot about the Tongs had me intrigued. Some reviewers compare Grant’s writing to Heinlein, and I see a lot of Honor Harrington in the story, like a slimmed-down Weber book. Which is exciting, as On Basilisk Station is a great story. I don’t think it’s too much alike, though, just reminiscent of great Space Opera, with an optimistic take on the future of humanity. If you are seeking Human Wave reading, this book will fit your tastes.
I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Grant and his lovely wife at LibertyCon, and he’s a fascinating person to talk to, which comes across in his writing. There is wit, depth, and a perspective to his writing that kept me from wanting to put down the book. All too often recently I have allowed life to interrupt me and derail me from finishing a book, but this one had my imagination going enough to keep me coming back until I was done.