Book: Sten by Chris Bunch and Allan Cole

Pretty good space-opera

Chris Bunch and Allan Cole
Orbit, 2002 (originally published in 1982)
ISBN: 1 84149 007 5
310 pages

At the beginning of Sten, Sten is a child of a proletarian (or "mig" as they're called in the book) family on an artificial factory world called Vulcan. Vulcan is run by an Evil Corporation that treats migs very badly indeed. (It's not clear to me why a corporation, evil or not, that could create an artificial factory world would need unskilled laborers. Migs are paid essentially nothing but they consume resources like food and oxygen that don't seem to be produced on Vulcan, so they'd be expensive even so. But nevermind that.)

Early in the book, Sten's family are killed because the evil corporation doesn't care about migs as much as profits. A little while later, Sten drops out of Vulcan's regimented society and becomes a "delinq". Stealing for a living isn't a lifestyle that has a long life-expectancy on Vulcan. But Sten manages to stay alive long enough to meet someone interesting. Then there's a longish section that, if I recall correctly, is reminiscent of Starship Troopers and then.... Well, that would be telling too much.

The last section of the book is excellent space opera. The first section is a reasonably good if not terribly imaginative description of a dystopia. The middle section feels like a way to get from the first section to the last. Any novel is going to have some of that. But in this case, it runs to 113 pages. Still, the space-opera was good enough that I'll almost certainly read the next book in the series.

Posted: Mon - September 13, 2004 at 09:24   Main   Category: