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The Stars Down Under


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About the Author

Sandra McDonald has been a Hollywood production assistant, a software instructor, a bureaucrat, and an officer in the United States Navy. Her short fiction has appeared in "Realms of Fantasy," "Strange Horizons," and elsewhere. Her previous novel was "The Outback Stars." She lives in Jacksonville, Florida.


Military SF thriller, xeno-archeological adventure, interstellar romance and shamanistic vision quest combine in this ambitious but flawed sequel to 2007's The Outback Stars. Chief Petty Officer Terry Myell-whose taboo enlistee/officer marriage to Lt. Cmdr. Jodenny Scott has landed him a tedious desk assignment-is kidnapped and forced to join a mission seeking a group of researchers who disappeared while investigating a network of spherical gateways that allow almost instantaneous travel between the stars. Inexplicably, Myell is the only one who can get the system to work. As he and his captors explore strange worlds for signs of the missing scientists, they discover a hostile reptilian race bent on controlling the secrets to the gateways and wiping out anyone in their way. McDonald leaves substantial questions of crucial backstory unanswered, and the divergent plot lines laden with Australian Aboriginal myth and folklore references leave this sophomore effort disjointed. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Likeable characters, excellent development, and a series of interlocking puzzles worked out against Australian culture that most Americans will find exotic. A smart, fun, read." --David Drake on "The Outback Stars" "The author shows intimate knowledge of the nuts and bolts of what really makes big ships tick...and the careful attention to the elements of Aboriginal culture makes this even more worthy of a reader's time." --Walter Hunt "Strikingly realistic. "The Outback Stars" gives the genre of military SF a very hard shake indeed. Buy this book; I guarantee your sense of wonder will get a workout." --James Patrick Kelly "Sandra McDonald knows the Navy, what makes a ship run well and what can make it run badly. Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is the sort of tough, smart, but thoroughly human officer we'd all like alongside us in an emergency." --John G. Hemry, Author of "Against All Enemies" and (as Jack Campbell) "The Lost Fleet Dauntless," on "The Outback Stars"

Enlisted man Chief Terry Myell and his wife, Lt. Commander Jodenny Scott, tread the boundaries of their "mixed" marriage carefully, bringing their combined talents to their current assignment on the planet Fortune. Team Space, of which they are members, has been exploring an interplanetary transportation alternative to spaceships, an alien artifact known as the Wondjina Spheres that link places and times. When these spheres shut down mysteriously, the task falls to Jodenny and Terry to find out how to make them work-in spite of the changes to the status quo their actions might cause. McDonald's sequel to The Outback Stars vividly depicts a future in which humans have abandoned a polluted Earth for the relative purity of space colonization. Ably combining military adventure with mystery and political intrigue, with strange artifacts thrown in for good measure, this fast-paced story should appeal to military sf as well as hard sf fans. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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