cover image Nimisha's Ship

Nimisha's Ship

Anne McCaffrey. Del Rey Books, $25 (388pp) ISBN 978-0-345-38825-4

The magic of McCaffrey's alien planetscapes and exotic space creatures, familiar from such novels as Dragonriders of Pern, is absent from this flimsily SF-clad romance, set on luxurious Vega III centuries into human galactic domination. Upon Lord Tionel's death, his precocious genius daughter, Lady Nimisha Boynton-Rondymense, takes charge of his famous shipyard and test-flies his cherished Mark V space yacht--straight into an unexpected wormhole that flings her onto an unknown planet. While bearing five children in three years to Jonagren Svangel, a conveniently also-stranded hunk, Nimisha spunkily triumphs in one maudlin adventure after another, but she finally dissolves into a postpartum ""leaky ula-ooli-la"" when located by a previous lover and her own adolescent body-heir, Cuiva. Not even Nimisha's inexhaustible supply of hooting alien babysitters and Star Trek-like cybernetic shipmates Helm, Doc and Cater can compensate for the vapidly predictable teeny-bopper plot and cellophane-thin characterizations--there's not one redeemingly vicious villain--that bloat this lost-in-space operetta, a leaky ula-ooli-la if ever there was one. Science Fiction Book Club main selection. (Feb.)