Wednesday, March 25, 2015

REVIEW: Freedom at Feronia (Asteroid Police Book 2)

Title: Freedom at Feronia (Asteroid Police Book 2)
Author: Richard Penn
Genre: SF
Price: $3.99 (ebook) / $10.99 (paperback)
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
ISBN:  978-1500830663
Point of Sale: Amazon  
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

I first heard of Richard Penn via another reviewer, who made an off-hand comment about Penn’s second book, Freedom at Feronia.  I reviewed Book 1 earlier, so here’s Book 2, which is a close sequel.

In Book 1, our heroine Lisa ends up with her very own spaceship, or at least the core for one.  After some not-terribly-interesting discussions, she decides to take it out with a crew to Feronia, a real asteroid, there to undertake a commission for the Asteroid Belt Police.

In Penn’s universe, space travel is awfully slow, which causes the plot of this book to drag.  Eventually, our heroes make it to Feronia, which consists of two stations, a ground-based one and an orbital one.  The two halves are in the midst of a cold war, largely because the ground station has been overtaken by a group of American libertarians from Tulsa, who are doing all sorts of quasi-libertarian / religious hijinks.  Lisa’s problem is to end the hijinks with her crew of six police in a way such that she can leave without fighting returning.

One of my criticisms of libertarians in general is that they don’t seem to understand how humans work.  Much the same can be said of the author, Penn.  He comes up with an innovative solution to the problem, which only works if people are much less stubborn than they usually are.  Considering that these colonists are true believers (or they wouldn’t be there) I found that hard to buy.

I wish I could say that the breathless prose and other stylistic points salvaged the story for me.  They don’t.  The prose is workmanlike at best, and the dialog clunky.  I also felt that the POV shifted around a lot for no apparent reason.  About the best I can say for Freedom at Feronia is that it provides a more solid ending than that of the first book.  I would really consider both books as one novel for purposes of plot.

Interesting concept, not well-executed.

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