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Starship Fall Hardcover – 11 Apr 2009
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despite the gentle pacing I was captivated. Herein lies the book's strength. I wanted to know the secrets behind the glamorous movie star's arrival, the taciturn natives and the vision-inducing drug that they use. Have any of the characters really been given a glimpse of the future? Who is trying to manipulate whom? I was drawn inexorably from page to page to find out. The plot flows steadily, adding background information and new twists almost unnoticed until you suddenly realise the depth of the situation that has developed. It's one of the most emotionally involving stories I've read in a long time and left me well satisfied.
--SFCrowsnest, July 1. 2009
From the Publisher
In Starship Fall, Eric Brown has crafted a powerful, moving novella about love, friendship, and the consequences of learning one's destiny. Traditional SF in style, yet wholly original in concept.
David Conway leads a quiet life in picturesque Magenta Bay on the colony world of Chalcedony. Nothing much has happened for five years, but all that is about to change. First he meets the mysterious holo star Carlotta Chakravorti-Luna, who regrets the lost loves of her past and dreams of learning what the future might hold. Then Conway's alien friend Kee heads inland to take part in an Ashentay ritual with potentially fatal consequences. What follows is a convoluted and poignant tragedy which entangles Conway and his friends. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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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...
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.
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.
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