on 1 October 2012
Starship Summer was a novella I picked up after I had read and enjoyed some of Eric Brown's other novels. I wasn't too sure what to expect, and came across a novella that had so many different levels to it, from the characters to the setting and story, and thoroughly enjoyed what I found. When I discovered that it was only the first of a projected four novellas (the Starship Seasons series), I knew that I was going to pick up the rest as a matter of urgency.
I actually read Starship Fall, the second of the series, around two years ago, shortly after I first read Summer. I had planned to review it then, but circumstances were against me and it's taken me a little longer to get around to reviewing it than I initially planned! I've recently re-read Fall (and Summer) to refresh my memory before going into Starship Winter (which was released a few months back and is still sitting on my shelf unread, much to my shame), while the final instalment, Starship Spring, is due out shortly.
In Starship Fall we pick up some years after the events of Summer. The Golden Column on Chalcedony has opened up interstellar travel to humanity on a much cheaper scale than the previous Telemass system, creating Columns on each planet it visits. But Chalcedony is still a quiet planet, with Magenta Bay a beach side town with not much going on. It is here where David Conway lives, spending his time reading, relaxing, and enjoying the company of his small group of friends - Matt, a famous crystal artist, his partner Maddie, Hawk, a former spaceship pilot and owner of a spaceship scrap yard near the town, and his alien girlfriend, Kee, a member of the native Ashentay race. When a newcomer, the famous holo-star Carlotta Chakravorti-Luna, arrives in Magenta Bay, David finds himself drawn to her. And when Kee disappears to take part in the old Ashentay ritual of smoking the bones, a series of events unfold that reveals the past of one of David's group.
Brown shows once again how capable he is at writing heartfelt and character driven stories. While set on an alien planet, with alien rituals at the centre of the story, it's completely relatable. There is no hard science involved - a staple of Brown's work - which allows you to invest in David, Matt, Maddie, Hawk, and Kee, and follow them through the events of Fall. It's all about the characters, the location, the feeling. Starship Fall hits the spot with all of them, and the story works perfectly in harmony with all aspects. It may not be a long novella, but it gives more to the reader than most full length stories.
While set on the same planet with the same group of friends, you don't have to read Summer before Fall - they're both individual self-contained stories. However, I'd advise that you do, simply as the characters are multi-layered and by reading the stories in order you get a much better experience, knowing more about each than you would do approaching Fall first.
Personally I'm looking forward to get straight on to reading Starship Winter to see what's next in store for David Conway and his group of friends...
on 4 March 2012
Starship Fall is the second in the Starship series, following on from Starship Summer. Apparently the next novel will be called Starship Winter. No news on what the fourth book will be named ;-)
As usual with books in a series, it's claimed that you don't need to have read previous instalments to understand what's going on. In this case, I would strongly recommend you read Starship Summer first, to get a proper feel for the characters.
Regarding this story, I've given it three stars because I felt it wasn't as interesting a story as the previous one. If you're an Eric Brown fan though, you will enjoy it.
on 16 November 2013
I've read this and its predecessor, Starship Summer, and enjoyed both.
Both feature the same characters and their gentle life as settlers on a planet far from Earth.
The characters are well written and quite consistent too. This story involves less about the actual starship than the previous story, but the same characters and planet. Adding to the story comes a beautiful woman from Earth, hiding from the fickle fortunes of stardom. In this story we learn more about the native, alien, life form that inhabits the planet of Chalcedony alongside the humans. Ancient and archaic, religious and sublime.
This is another great story by Eric Brown and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.