Genre: science fiction
Length: 543 pages
Setting: an earth-like exoplanet called Genellan and surrounding space
Summary: A battalion of spaceships have jumped into a new solar system and are immediately attacked by the natives. The main ship jumps out, leaving a corvette and its crew behind. They survive their encounter with the aliens and hold the ship together long enough to get everyone planet-side on Genellan, the earth-like planet in the system. There is another sentient race on Genellan that the humans slowly befriend and learn to communicate with. The people work to survive on Genellan, especially through the strong winters. The attacking aliens live on the second planet and they come to see what they can learn from the humans, preferably the secret to interstellar travel. When the human fleet comes back to recover the soldiers left behind, they are again met with force. Luckily, diplomatic relations are initiated when a regime change occurs among the aliens on the second planet.
Final thoughts: A fine enough story as long as you don’t think too hard about it. There were interesting aliens (the Genellan natives were like bats, and the other aliens were adapted to hotter, heavy gravity conditions) and I found the idea of life arising differently in such different conditions believable. There were other aspects of the story not near as believable. The worst one was that the humans could eat everything they wanted to on Genellan with no adverse effects. The language tended to slide into technobabble with regular frequency (i.e. “A single large engine nacelle with variable ducting was mounted over the wing spars”). I started just glossing over the space battles for just that reason. Our main person of interest, Buccari, was always conflicted about acting feminine (heck, even the thought of having sex, like all the other women were doing, made her panicky) or being macho so she could continue to command respect and authority from the Marines under her command. It is possible to do both, you know. And one final complaint – the book suffered from Russian novel syndrome. Everyone usually went by their last names, but suddenly, halfway through, the characters referred to each other by first names or nicknames, and I never knew who they were talking to. Even with all those problems, it was still worth finishing to see how all the threads (humans on Genellan, humans with the fleet, aliens on Genellan, aliens on the second planet) came back together. The series goes to four books, and I don’t think I’ll bother with the next one.
Title comes from: The spacers made planetfall on Genellan in order to survive after they are left behind by the fleet in a damaged spaceship.
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #55 for the year
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