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Blood Relations
A.L. Sirois
Clocktower Fiction, e-book

Blood Relations
A.L. Sirois
A.L. Sirois writes and reviews books (yep, SF Site too). He's a longtime member of SFWA and currently serves the organization as webmaster for the SFWA BULLETIN.

A.L. Sirois Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rodger Turner

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Four hundred years ago, the people of Lennon fled the Earth. They were escaping the chaos of a world ravaged by pollution and tyranny. They wanted a better life for their families and coming generations. To get it, they mortgaged their wealth accumulated through UK music and fled to the stars. What they found was a planet lacking in metals and ravaged by storms. Life proved to be a challenge but they were determined to succeed.

One fierce day, Haltija -- a sabership -- sends a first contact party down to the planet surface with the intent of re-establishing relations with a colony once thought lost. The sentient ship had just about given up and its crew-family was looking ahead to some shore leave. For events were not proceeding as expected. The crew had factionalized and sabotage had damaged key ship's systems.

Zida Yokoi, a teenage telepath aboard the starship uncovers a mystery -- the colonists, or at least a small portion of them, hold the secret of immortality. But someone aboard Haltija seems to want the secret to remain buried on the planet. They'll go to any lengths -- even murder -- to prevent it being brought back to civilization.

Before she realizes it, Zida and her landing party find themselves sucked into the conflict where escalating violence leads to tragedy and madness. But the clues sometimes point to colonists, sometimes to members of the crew. They have to solve this puzzle to survive. And soon, for it seems that the ship is suffering from the effects of the sabotage, plus the ravages of the planet's weather could isolate those on the ground. About the only thing Zida and the others seem sure of is that their chances of seeing Earth are diminishing rapidly as time passes.

If all this sounds like cover copy to entice you into buying Blood Relations, it is intentional. The book is that good. Why it didn't appear from one of the mass-market houses is beyond me. Maybe the wrong editor read it on a bad-coffee day or something stupid like that. The story has all the aspects we've come to expect from those so-called major houses -- vivid characters, strong pacing, intriguing technology, twisty plotting. Best of all, Blood Relations doesn't betray the characters by offering them as a sacrifice to plot.

I was unsure what to expect when I downloaded a copy of this novel and plunked it into my Palm PDA. I've read a number of stories on my Palm plus one novel earlier this year. I was able to get through the stories but doing a novel was a real trial. That novel was fabulous but the Palm's teeny screen can really tire out the eyes after an hour or so. After that first novel, I swore I'd never do it again. So sue me, I tried again with Blood Relations. Maybe my eyes are used to it now. I think I'll try it again.

Copyright © 2000 by Rodger Turner

Rodger has read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in forty years. He can only shake his head and say, "So many books, so little time."


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