Gallowglass • 2020 • Space Opera by S.J. Morden

★★★+☆☆
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Synopsis: Jack is a young adult, the son of multi-billionaires who want him to undergo a gene-treaty for eternal youth. Just, that he doesn’t want it. Nowhere on Earth would he get out of reach of his manipulative parents. With a couple of highly skilled internet friends, he devised a plan to flee from the house, its security advisor, and go up to the Moon.
Astonishingly, the reckless flight really led him out of Earth orbit – just not to his employer on the Moon who „suddenly“ went bankrupt. But into a last minute engagement as a navigator for a spaceship – he trained the last years to get the certificate.

The spaceship‘s mission was to dock on an huge asteroid rich with valuable resources. And then move it to the L4 position nearby Moon where it would be harvested. The whole crew would become rich and famous.

Of course, a few things went differently than Jack expected.

Review: This novel is a breathless rollercoaster from start to end with only a few relaxed meters to ride in between.
Multiple plot twists led the narration in unpredictable directions – suffice it to say, that we see a lot of detailed descriptions of EVAs on said asteroid but also on the Moon.
Jack is a naive noob in space, but a relatable one with his ethics and charms. The other crew members were interesting characters, just not nice ones. So, don’t expect a Becky Chambers fluffy crew here, because space is unforgiving and a long journey breaks through the best false masquerade.
Sometimes, the takeoff procedures or those initiating EVAs were too detailed, and flooded the page with unnecessary info dumps. On the other hand, they were times to relax and ease the otherwise high tension.

The novel had two endings, and the last end was too abrupt for my taste – more like the open ending of a short story. Morden built up extreme high tension and didn’t release it. This cost the novel one star.

Also, the chapters‘ epigraphs with (real world) citations concerning climate change didn’t really fit the narration and were a thing of its own. I was totally confused with the first occurrences of climate change deniers and they hindered immersion into the story’s natural flow.

Recommended for readers of Near Future SF searching a thriller in the solar system.

Meta: isbn 9781473228542. UK publication at 10.12.2020 by Orion Publishing Group.

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2 Responses to Gallowglass • 2020 • Space Opera by S.J. Morden

  1. Will says:

    Sorry it took so long. I wanted to finish it before I read this and weighed in–and you pretty much nailed it! Ditto on everything, great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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