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Singing the Dogstar Blues
Alison Goodman
Firebird, 272 pages

Singing the Dogstar Blues
Alison Goodman
Alison Goodman was the 1999 D.J. O'Hearn Memorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She holds a Master of Arts and teaches creative writing at postgraduate level. She lives in bayside Melbourne.

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A review by Dan Shade

I don't know how long it has been but I don't recall ever having so much fun reading a novel. Singing The Dogstar Blues is a seamless mixture of high adventure, humor, mystery and science fiction. Alison Goodman does this with a deft hand and still gives us enough science upon which to base the story. As in all good science fiction, that meat of the story is found in the relationships between the characters. Joss must pair telepathically with an alien in order to save his life and stay in the time-travel program. And in addition to how well Goodman handles the entire book, even the futuristic swearing is believable but building realistic relationships is Goodman's strong suit.

Joss Aronson, the protagonist, is a no-frills high school student. Make up takes too long and she feels more comfortable in jeans and a college sweatshirt. She is a comp child; an egg fertilized from one or a number of sperm donors. In order to bond with her Alien partner, Joss must find out who is her father. She needs her genealogical heritage. Joss turns to her mother, who is a high-powered news journalist that Joss has seen little during her life. Together Joss and Mavkel (the alien) embark on a dangerous and illegal quest to find Joss' father. There are many side plots to this main one. They are not a distraction but support the story.

Singing the Dogstar Blues is a great adventure and a boatload of fun. It's a real knock-out for a first novel and I'm looking forward to Goodman's next. Mad scientists, wicked witches, betrayal, strong friendships, high personal integrity and high altitude adventure. I not only recommend this book but also tell you to run out and get it now. This is good summer reading for any age. Good winter reading by the fireplace. Great reading.

(This review first appeared on Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show.)

Copyright © 2010 by Dan Shade

Dan Shade is a retired college professor who loves to read young adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror. But he doesn't draw the line there. He also enjoys writing science fiction and hopes to publish someday. In the meantime, you can find him at (under construction).

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