Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book Review: Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress

I'm still, as you can see, working on my Nancy Kress kick. I finished this one last night while Davan was at Zig Zag practice while sitting inside a Fred Meyer's (grocery store and general department store for those not from the Northwest), as is becoming my habit. I don't like sitting in the car in the dark and cold very much and buying a tea/coffee/prepared food item in order to sit inside a coffee shop is both cost preventative and, other than tea, not what I want to put in my body. Last week, though, I hit upon the Fred Meyer idea. This particular Fred Meyer's has a nice, big seating area for those eating out of their deli type area. I go and buy an apple from the produce section, which runs me about 50 cents, then sit in their seating area and enjoy my apple. It's cheap and I get to be warm. I just have to make sure I don't stray into less healthy food choices, as I nearly did last night before coming to my senses.

Onto the review!

Steal Across the Sky is a book with an interesting premise. It's the near future - 2020 - and aliens have some to visit. Rather than attack us or mentor us into a new age, they want to atone. It seems that, many thousands of years ago, they took some humans and seeded other planets with these humans. However, that is not what they want to atone for.

So, what then, do they want to atone for? Well, that's the question. Chosen from volunteers, they take 21 humans to visit the other human worlds. In each ship are three humans, two to each visit one of two planets in a system and one for backup, if the original two are, for some reason, unable to visit the planets or just to monitor from the ship, otherwise.

What these witnesses observe starts a large controversy upon their return to Earth. How do they and the rest of "us" handle it?

I enjoyed the over all premise and the glimpse of what tourist travel to the moon might look like in just a decade or so. However, I did not much identify with the characters. The story is told, over the course of the book, from the point of view of four different witnesses and their chapters are interspersed with little tidbits from newspapers, popular culture, presidential briefings, military briefings and the like, which I enjoyed.

Out of the four main characters, however, I sort of, kind of identified with two of them while another one of them drove me absolutely batty and the fourth was...understandable, but unliked by me. While I saw why the characters were who they were and how they helped the story along, it did lessen my enjoyment, being annoyed with them.

My rating for this book is a 7.5 - great story concept, but not always a truly great reading experience.

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