"Will appeal to fans of Robert Heinlein"
In the not too distant future, NASA has invented space
technology used by Ares Seven to travel to Mars, but it
will land two weeks after the Chinese make the first red
planet landing with people aboard. Manny and Dak, two
college students, want to become astronauts more than
anything else and they get to meet former astronaut Travis
Bussard when they almost run over him in their jeep.
Travis was drummed out of NASA because he was an alcoholic
and he doesn't intend to change that condition until four
young men and women give him a reason to remain sober.
Travis's cousin Jubal, an idiot savante, invents a new form
of energy that when inserted onto a spaceship, can take the
crew to Mars in under a week. Jubal wants America to be
the first country to walk on Mars. Manny, his girlfriend
Kelly, Dak and his girlfriend Alicia agree with him.
Travis thinks they are all crazy but helps them build a
ship that will take them to Mars when Jubal informs him
that there is a fault in Ares Seven that will destroy the
ship before it lands. Travis doesn't want that to happen
because his ex-wife, the custodial parent of his children,
is on board the Ares Seven.
John Varley has written a first rate science fiction novel
starring five unlikely heroes who end up doing the country
proud. Jubal, the creator of the space drive, takes
pleasure in simple things even though his patents are
making him billions of dollars. RED THUNDER would make a
great movie because it has plenty of action, romance and
suspense. This work will appeal to fans of Robert
Heinlein's more sophisticated works.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted March 10, 2003
In the highly anticipated new novel by John Varley, a
manned mission to Mars becomes a personal mission for an
unlikely bunch of astronauts: seven suburban misfits who
have constructed a spaceship built out of old tanker cars
and held together with all-American ambition. They call her
Red Thunder. They plan to be the first people on the Red
Planet...despite China's big head start. If it didn't sound
so crazy, it would be history in the making...