Rock Killer is good old-fashioned science fiction with genuine science and a fascinating view of the future. Asteroids are turned into space-ships by the addition of strategically placed engines, then flown to earth to be mined in orbit, their materials used to satisfy the ever-growing needs of a technological society. Of course, some people worry about safety—some with justifiable cause, others with the usual political disregard for logic and science. When the Gaia Alliance starts throwing bombs and killing SRI’s employees to publicize their cause, it’s time for Strategic Resources Inc to do some clever spying, and Charlie, upset at the death of her lover, is just the person for the job.
The novel has lots of interesting characters and intersecting storylines, all coming together as the asteroid is snared and heads for earth. Ecological terrorists join forces with political evil in a very convincing way and the science is nicely plausible with well-chosen details. Chapters told from different points of view give the reader a good feel for character and motivation and provide an ideal platform for the author’s ideas. Dialog is slow sometimes as characters ponder their own motivations. And the politics is intensely American—a problem to my European ears because of its implied criticism of other points of view. But some truly lyrical passages bring readers into the wonder of space, while genuine science emphasizes its dangers. This post-modern world of big corporations, still rife with the follies of politics and nationalism, is scarily real.
If real science bores you, or right-wing politics infuriates you, this probably isn’t the novel for you, but it’s a well-crafted well-told tale with plenty of excitement, solidly real details and a really good plot, highly recommended for real science fiction fans.
Disclosure: I was given an ecopy of this novel by the author as he thought, correctly, I might be interested in it.