I bought this book because I'm going through withdrawal after having finished the twenty books in Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series and because I was curious to see how Dana Stabenow, would handle Science Fiction.
On her website, Dana Stabenow says she wrote "Second Star"
"in response to the Challenger blowing up, a story about a space program that worked. Rage is a great motivator. "
The result is a book, in the tradition of Heinlein and Niven, that is in love with the dream of space exploration and believes that it can be brought about by courage, ingenuity, a strong will and an absolute refusal to accept bullshit.
"Second Star" follows Star Svendotter in the final weeks of her project to build a space habitat at Lagrange 5. Svendotter is an indomitable Alaskan woman who leads from the front and is willing to act as judge, jury and executioner when necessary. She is practical, demanding, manipulative when necessary, goal-focused and completely enthralled by getting the science to work.
This is the opposite to the NASA management culture reported by the Rogers commission where Feynman concluded that
"For a successful technology reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
In other words, when management thinking goes up against physics, physics always wins. Star Svendotter embodies this idea and made me cheer her on.
"Second Star" is a good piece of science fiction that leans towards the hard science end of the genre and expects its readers to enjoy speculative science and to be familiar with Star Trek, Heinlein, and Asimov.
There are points in the story that suffer from just little too much info-dumping but it mostly flows along just fine. For a book that is now twenty five years old, it's pleasing to see that the ideas still feel relevant and current.
According to Dana Stabenow's website "Second Star" is available free as an ebook from the following places, so, if I've piqued your curiosity, you have to spend nothing but time and a little imagination to satisfy yourself
Second Star is now available as an absolutely free ebook! (Or as near to it as Amazon and B&N will let us get).