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Dykstra's War
Jeffery D. Kooistra
Baen Books, 406 pages

Dykstra's War
Jeffery D. Kooistra
Jeffery D. Kooistra is a free-lance physics consultant and former associate editor of Infinite Energy Magazine. He is one of the alternate view columnists for Analog and his short fiction often appears there. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife and three children.

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Excerpt: Dykstra's War

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Peter D. Tillman

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James Dykstra is the greatest scientific genius of the 21st century, but at 126 years of age, he's starting to slow down. Until the mysterious Phinons attack a human ship out in the Oort. A wrecked alien ship hints at a possible FTL drive... and the Phinons seem to have some curious blind spots.

Dykstra's an engaging character, as is the gorgeous genano engineer Samantha "Sunshine" MacTavish. Kooistra's other characters, aside from an autistic idiot-savant who loves squirrels, are straight stock, but carry their spears adequately. I did wince at some of the dialogue:

"She reminds me of someone, Bob. Someone who was very special to me."
Or:
"Our duty is to survive, Luke. Not to give you a chance to be a hero."
Dykstra's War has some interesting ideas, including a new explanation for Fermi's Paradox ("where is everyone?"), inside a conventional, competently-written SF thriller. The plot moves briskly, and while there are few surprises, I had fun reading it. Recommended for fans of old-fashioned1 hard-SF space opera.

This is Kooistra's first novel. Long-time Analog readers may recognize a couple of 1993 stories incorporated into the book. Kooistra is a science columnist for Analog, and delights in stirring up trouble by advocating fringe-science ideas, some of which show up here.

The cover (by Patrick Turner) is gloriously lurid, featuring (by my count) eight exploding spaceships, a tiny sample of the half-million or so destroyed inside the book.


1 This is intended as a polite (and perhaps superfluous) alert that readers who require polished, 'literary' prose are likely to be disappointed here.

Copyright © 2001 Peter D. Tillman

Pete Tillman has been reading SF for better than 40 years now. He reviews SF -- and other books -- for Usenet, "Under the Covers", Infinity-Plus, Dark Planet, and SF Site. He's a mineral exploration geologist based in Arizona. More of his reviews are posted at www.silcom.com/~manatee/reviewer.html#tillman .


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