Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HooDoo Sea by Rolf Hitzer

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  The government of the United States of America is on the verge of startling the world. Billions of dollars had been invested in its space program . And now, the moment of truth had arrived… Scott Reed is the man for the historic mission. He is the Wing Commander chosen by the elite brass at NASA. The assignment to test flight the first speed of light craft, held top secret, was about to shock the world. The risk? Utter and complete failure. The reward? Being a part of the greatest human accomplishment ever known to mankind. Major James Harrow, second in command of the four person crew, despised his Wing Commander. Harrow was a proud and patriotic American. What was NASA thinking when they selected a Canadian to pilot the voyage? There was no comparison as to who was the better skilled aviator. This was his time, his moment. Major James Harrow was about to prove to everybody they were wrong to bypass him as Commander. The weather conditions were perfect and lift-off for the test flight was text book. The triumphant cheers from Mission Control in Houston were echoed all the way to Cape Canaveral. The silent fear of the first hurdle of the flight had been succumbed. All systems were go! That is, until the crew and SOLT-X1 entered the Bermuda Triangle…

And here's what I thought:  I was interested in this story because I had just finished Mary Roach's Packing for Mars, a nonfiction book about the realities of space.  So, here I was thinking this was about a space mission ... and as I kept reading, realized there was much more to this book.  The writing is very straightforward, and almost terse, which set a great tone to the story.  There's also some wry humor throughout the book, which helped lighten some of the tension, along with some interesting characters.  What I really liked was how the story seemed to be going in one direction, and then would completely twist in another direction.  I'm determined to avoid spoilers, so suffice to say, this review will be relatively short.  However, if you're wanting a quick-paced story with some surprising elements and a completely unexpected ending, this would be up your alley.   I don't know if I'd classify this as pure science-fiction, because there are other elements in it to move it more towards a thriller/Crichton-esque kind of book.   Either way, it's an entertaining read.    I'd be interested to see what this author does next.

As much as I liked the book, I tended to hit snags on some of the dialogue.  There are a lot of idioms here, and repetition of things in a way that didn't sound like natural speech.  Example:  James tends to say "Man" way too much.  p. 166 "You're early man."  And then, at the top of the following page, "I've decided to stay here, man."  Um... is James a surfer?  I'd expect different from a guy who's second in command of a NASA mission.   And... this is my other snag.  The main female character in this book is named DeeDee.  Perhaps it's just a personal quirk, but this name makes her sound like a lightweight (no offense to any DeeDees out there --- I'd just have preferred that she had a less young-girl-sounding name).   I also didn't warm to her character; I never quite believed that she was NASA material from the way she was written (less focus on her personal life, and more on science/the situation at hand).  

First sentence(s):  "White.  The room was a sterile, monotonous white.  Had you been standing there blindfolded and then had the blind removed, you'd be convinced this was the cell of an asylum." 

Thoughts on the cover:
  Pretty simple, but once I got into the book, I understood the eye design.  However, at first, I wasn't sure what was going on....  but I like the way the eyes seem to appear as if they're coming out of a mist.

Where I got this book:   Part of a virtual book tour - I gave the review in exchange for the book.   Thank you!

1 comments:

Jon said...

Looks very interesting. Packing for Mars is on my TBR pile right now, after my cousin recommended it to me.

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