Night Launch

Jake Garn, Author, Paul Cohen, With William Morrow & Company $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-06717-5
Garn is the first U.S. senator to have experienced space travel. Cohen has published two previous adventure novels, Heartless and Island of Still. While the premise of their technothriller will attract readers, its development is likely to disappoint. The setting is the early 1990s, by which time glasnost has progressed far enough to generate a joint U.S.-Soviet space mission. When the shuttle is hijacked in flight by terrorists, a second craft is dispatched on an improvised rescue mission. The authors effectively depict the processes of launching, controlling and living in a space shuttle, but are less successful in spinning a credible tale. The hijackers are neo-Nazis with a grandiose aim--restoring the Reich--but since their specific demands involve no more than the release of prisoners, much of the subsequent action is virtually meaningless. Secondary threats, of war between the superpowers or disaster for the U.S. space program, are asserted rather than developed. The negative effects of stilted dialogue on a shaky plot are exacerbated by the authors' failure to integrate character development and technological background: some pages seem to paraphrase NASA manuals, while others feature stereotyped descriptions of action and amour. BOMC alternate. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Hardcover - 978-0-445-21023-3
Hardcover - 394 pages - 978-0-8161-4857-8
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