Review: Shuttle Rising: To Rendezvous With A Rumor
Title: Shuttle Rising: To Rendezvous With A Rumor
Author: Charles Boyle:
Charles Boyle's absorbing tale, Shuttle Rising: To Rendezvous With A Rumor makes excellent use of his profound knowledge of space research and technology resulting in some very imaginative plot twists. Boyle's writing has appeared in Science and Omni magazines and he has served as space flight editor for the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. He was also the Educational Programs Manager for Earth Sciences at the Goddard Space Flight Center.
The narrative opens when the Technical Director of the CIA, Mike Benson, is informed by a doctoral candidate of a mysterious signal that has been detected from a listening scan of the night sky.
After some speculation, it is deduced that a Russian satellite, (given the name Ivan), is a remnant from the last century and seems to be calling somebody. However, it is not known who, how or why? In addition, it is believed that there is a timer set to go off once a year on the fourth of July, only over the continental USA, and in the hydrogen wavelength.
Due to the Soviet's practice of secrecy and their total absence of confessing to any shortcomings, you never knew when their space ventures succeeded or failed. Could it be the unthinkable that Ivan was one of their failures? That a Russian cosmonaut was used as fodder for their space experimentations and is dead in orbit?
Meanwhile, as the plot unfolds, the United Nations is presented with a resolution pertaining to the?Open Lands Treaty,? whereby all nations would vote to eliminate nuclear weapons. If passed, it would mean that each nation would consent to having inspectors on its own soil in order to confirm that the treaty is honored. The Russians are appalled at such a requirement and refuse to go along with the proposal stating that it would be placing spies in their midst.
This now sets the stage for the USA to try and prove that the Russians are in fact trying to hide something and that one of their cosmonauts has been lost in space. Once this is accomplished, the Russians will come back and sign the treaty.
One of America's leading astronauts, Distinguished Service Award winner, Adam MacGregor along with his side kick Tim Carver are called upon to seize and retrieve Ivan and bring it back to earth. Perhaps, they will even succeed in showing evidence that it contains a dead cosmonaut?
The Russians are apprised as to what is transpiring through information they obtained from a mole they have placed within the American space agency. All hell breaks loose and they accuse the Americans of piracy and imperialistic interference in the internal affairs of other nations.
All of this leads to some some extremely dangerous shenanigans between the Russians and the Americans. There is also the possibility that Russian astronauts have been left in hibernation-like states, known as suspended animation, as is sometimes depicted in science fiction films.
This is a gripping novel narrated with great verve, as its sweeps its readers into the world of space research and adventure.
As the pieces slowly fall into place, readers realize that there is much more to this novel than just recovering a lost Russian spaceship. Working several threads within the principal plot, Boyle provokes a great deal of thought and speculation pertaining to space research and ?what if? scenarios. However, from time to time the excessive use of technical jargon, as well as the questionable relevance of some of the scenes, particularly between McGregor and the Russian astronaut Ylena, somewhat hinders the pace of the narrative.
Notwithstanding this shortcoming, the novel still leaves us sated, yet desiring more. It is a thriller that delivers a great deal of action, but perhaps, to those of us who are not very knowledgeable about space, little plausibility-nonetheless we love the suspense!
About the Author: Norm Goldman is the Editor of the book reviewing and author interviewing site, http://www.bookpleasures.com.
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