Monday, February 7, 2011

The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald

When it comes to science fiction, I enjoy books in the military sub-genre that have a strong heroine, and author Sandra McDonald has translated her experience as an officer in the U.S. navy into a trilogy of books that I devoured. The trilogy also includes elements based on Australian culture and history, especially that of the indigenous peoples, which is a rather unique spin on the genre.

The Outback Stars and its sequels, The Stars Down Under and The Stars Blue Yonder, tell the story of Lieutenant Jodenny Scott and Sergeant Terry Myell. The two main characters meet aboard the Aral Sea to which Lieutenant Scott transferred after her previous ship, the Yangtze, was destroyed in a terrorist attack.

The Aral Sea is a vast ship which ferries travelers and colonists along the Alcheringa, an alien constructed pathway between habitable worlds. The daily challenges of shipboard life are quickly overshadowed as Jodenny and Terry come to realize that the destruction of the Yangtze was not as simple as they'd been led to believe.

To promote the paperback publication of The Stars Blue Yonder, Sandra McDonald created a book trailer. It is available for viewing on YouTube: The Stars Blue Yonder: Ode to Australia
(Warning! This video contains spoilers for the first two books!)

And if you find you too enjoy Military Science Fiction with a strong heroine, you should check out these series too:
  • The Honor Harrington series by David Weber are based in part on the Horatio Hornblower series of C.S. Forester, though set aboard a starship in the distant future.

  • Elizabeth Moon is a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps, and has written several series featuring military women. Her Vatta's War series starts with Trading in Danger.

  • The Kris Longknife series by Mike Shepherd follow the title heroine who joins the navy to escape her powerful family, but finds her heritage is not so easy to avoid.

  • Laura E. Reeve's Ariane Kedros series feature the adventures of the title character as she navigates espionage, a cold war, and alien forces.

-Sarah, Adult Services

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