cover image Firestar: An Epic of Science Fiction for the Twenty-First Century

Firestar: An Epic of Science Fiction for the Twenty-First Century

Michael Flynn. Tor Books, $27.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85525-3

By 1999, well-meaning but misguided liberals, environmentalists and feminists have brought the U.S. economy to a near standstill. The space program is suffocating in red tape. The schools are collapsing. Technological innovation is virtually dead. All of this will change, however, because of one woman with vision, a capitalist with a heart of gold who has dedicated her life to reforming America's schools and to returning humanity to outer space. Over the past three years, a number of talented, politically conservative SF writers have turned their hands to scenarios much like this, among them Poul Anderson, Charles Sheffield and Larry Niven. Now Flynn (In the Country of the Blind, 1990) has produced one of the better books in this budding subgenre. His plot is complex, but it stays on track. His large cast of characters, particularly industrialist Mariesa van Huyten, are generally well drawn; even the villains have depth. Flynn's detailed description of new space technologies is entirely believable, too, though his solutions to current educational problems seem naive. This amalgam of ambitious SF and political agenda, the first in a projected series, may annoy some left-leaning readers, but it's likely to please most fans of thoughtful hard SF. (May)