cover image Starbound


Joe Haldeman, . . Ace, $24.95 (292pp) ISBN 978-0-441-01817-8

The workmanlike sequel to 2008's Marsbound continues the adventures of red planet colonist Carmen “The Mars Girl” Dula and her pilot husband, Paul Collins, as they set out on a deep space mission to save humankind from possible annihilation. After barely surviving the first encounter with an alien Other, Earth's leaders decide to send a ship with seven envoys after the Other's craft in a possibly suicidal attempt to reach the Other's home world and forge some kind of understanding. During the 6½-year voyage, the crew comes to some startling realizations concerning humankind and its place in the stars. Reminiscent of Asimov's early work and Heinlein's juvenile novels, the naïve tone, two-dimensional characters, and simplistic story line make for a fast-paced but unremarkable read. (Jan.)