cover image The Rising Flight Engineer (Hardcover)

The Rising Flight Engineer (Hardcover)

James Doohan, Doohan &. Stirling, &. Stirling Doohan. Baen Books, $21 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-87758-3

The commercial hook to this novel, which launches not only the new line of Baen Starline titles and the line's first series, is that it also launches the fiction career of Doohan--whom most readers will recognize, if not by his name, then by his picture splashed across the novel's dust jacket. For Doohan is ""Scotty"" of Star Trek fame. Here, collaborating with veteran military SF writer Stirling (Drakon), he offers a far future in which the interplanetary Commonwealth is beset by Mollies, an offshoot group of religious fanatics, and their alien-anthropod allies, the Fibians. The primary object of contention is antihydrogen, used to fuel interplanetary ships. The novel introduces the series' major characters.There's Flight Engineer Peter Raeder (he of the ""black-Irish good looks""), who's a Heinleinian hero, independent and competent yet neither mean nor humorless; offputting but hyperefficient Second Lieutenant Cynthia Robbins; and engineering chief Paddy Casey from New Hibernia. It also sets the stage for future volumes, offering plenty of high-tech action for fans of SF adventure, as well as a modestly satisfying central mystery that Raeder is assigned to solve. This isn't great SF, but Trekkies are likely to beam it up right off the bookstore shelves. Author tour. (Nov.)