Double Full Moon Night

Gentry Lee, Author
Gentry Lee, Author Spectra Books $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-553-09007-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-553-57336-7
Prebound-Glued - 978-0-606-19273-6
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-24890-7
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Bizarre aliens and mysterious technologies are rife in this sequel to former NASA scientist Lee's first solo novel, Bright Messengers. Lee got his start in SF by co-authoring four novels with Sir Arthur Clarke, three of them sequels to Rendezvous with Rama, and the two books he's written on his own are both set in the Rama universe. In Bright Messengers, a group of colonists was rescued from certain death on Mars by a gigantic and mysterious alien spacecraft. Deposited on several islands within the spacecraft's inner sea, the humans have barely survived, fighting off hostile aliens as well as their own worst impulses. Now, led by Johann Eberhardt, former engineer and champion swimmer, the colonists are transported to a distant, seemingly benign planet with two moons. Eberhardt, however, is in periodic communication with someone or something that claims to be his long-dead love, Sister Beatrice of the Order of St. Michael, and this apparition has warned him that their new world will turn deadly in the near future when the two moons are full simultaneously. The colonists' survival evidently depends on Johann's ability to convince them that he has indeed spoken with Beatrice. Although this novel may appeal to admirers of the earlier Rama books, there's little here to attract new readers. Lee's prose is leaden, particularly his dialogue, and he exhibits a poor sense of pacing. Neither Johann nor any of the other colonists comes alive on the page--a flaw that robs the novel of emotional depth or power, despite its handful of moderately successful action sequences. (Mar.)
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