Jerry Oltion, Author . Tor $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0619-7

Nebula-winner Oltion's 2001 novel, The Getaway Special , explored how the near-future discovery of a cheap, simple interstellar drive prompted anyone on Earth with enough nerve to take off for the stars, leaving terrestrial governments fuming at the loss of their renegade citizens. In this meandering but satisfying sequel, things have gotten worse, especially in an increasingly paranoid America. Trent and Donna Stinson, of Rock Springs, Wyo., decide to climb into their pickup truck and head for Alpha Centauri. They're a laid-back couple, perfectly willing to share new planets with aliens as long as they can earn enough to live and then relax with a few beers. When the U.S. government interferes and they wind up lost in space, Trent and Donna start working hard to find their way home and clean up the mess back on Earth. There's not much glamour in this space opera, as shown by a weightless Trent struggling to take off lug nuts so he can remove truck tires in interplanetary space. Oltion has carefully thought out the mechanics of such situations, which serve to support the book's upbeat message: If you keep cool, you probably can get out of whatever trouble you've gotten yourself into. Agent, Eleanor Woods at Spectrum Literary Agency. (Mar. 4)

Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
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