Since being dishonorably discharged from the Star Corps, pilot John MacAlister has been struggling to make ends meet with less-than-legal cargo runs across the cosmos. He’s desperate to get his life back, but every time John thinks he’s found that “one last job,” some new disaster lands him back at square one.
After he crashes on the Moon, John finds himself in debt to a shady lawyer who makes him an offer he can’t refuse: Locate teenage runaway Meryl Amelson and bring her back or rot in jail. John knows whatever they want her for can’t be good – but what choice does he have? At least that’s how he feels until he meets his target.
Deep in the inhospitable Blanchlands of Kaldikar-6, John discovers smart and scrappy Meryl is the only witness to a murder ordered by the very same officer who kicked John out of the Star Corps.
For the first time since his dishonorable discharge, John has a purpose. Despite facing impossible odds, he vows to protect Ril and expose his former commander’s corruption no matter the cost.
The only challenge? Living long enough to actually do it.
Blanchland Blues is a fast-paced, grounded, and witty science fiction adventure sure to instantly win over fans of Andy Weir’s The Martian, Michael Ruben’s The Sheriff of Yrnameer, and the timeless humor of the late, great Douglas Adams.
“Blanchland Blues” is a gripping read from start to finish!
This story pitches John MacAlister and his artie against corruption on the frontier of space.
A disgraced Star Corps pilot and unsuccessful smuggler is the most unlikely hero. But Tom Dell’Aringa has crafted aliens, characters and conflict that are very believable.
From the very start of this book, there is a very definite relationship between John and his robot ‘partner’ Alvis. Admitted, that relationship didn’t start on the best of terms, and continues to be a source of conflict between the two of them, but that interplay is very well written. The way the two argue makes it easy to believe that the two of them have a history together, however brief.
John’s history comes into play very quickly, but it’s clear that his discharge from the Star Corps has affected his outlook on life and subsequent actions. What follows is a crash that brings John to the attention of a lawyer who enlists his help in tracking down a girl on a frontier world.
Of course, things are never going to be as easy as they sound, and what follows is a story that has elements of alien species, a frontier setting, and a very strong hint of Western. In fact, it reminds me a little of some of the worlds from the ‘Firefly’ TV series.
Watching the interplay between John, the colonists, and the native ‘phants makes this entire story a pleasure to read. And as each secret is uncovered, and revealed to the reader, things become clearer, but John’s problems just get bigger.
If you like gritty science-fiction, and great characters, you’re going to love Blanchland Blues, and have trouble putting it down!