Published by Pyr
The first colony story is a familiar tale in Science Fiction; many writers have tackled it and many will in years to come as the dream of traveling to other worlds persists. Alexis Glynn Latner’s debut novel, Hurricane Moon, shows how the journey to a new world can be as difficult as landing on the planet and starting the colony.
Latner’s story comes across in three loose acts: (I) Realizing that the planet they were going to colonize is gone, (II) Finding a suitable replacement, and (III) Arriving at the suitable replacement planet. She does a lot of interesting things, and as I stated, illustrates how difficult colonization can be before even getting to the actual planet.
The story is told primarily from the point of view of the ship’s doctor, Catharin Gault, who is responsible for evaluating potential passengers on the ship. She is required to assess whether the people who wanted to travel to the new planet can handle forever forgoing contact with their family and loved ones.
Though the number of passengers on board is in the thousands, only a handful are selected to deal with the first trauma the ship, Aeon, encounters. When the ship arrives at the space where their destination world is thought to be located, Catharin is brought out of her “deep sleep.” Unfortunately the planet is not there and difficult choices must be made. Lacking a backup plan for the situation, Catharin and the few scientists who come out of deep sleep must diverge from the book which lays out what they are supposed to do and create a plan of their own.
After many debates and postulations, Catharin and the scientists ultimately chance upon twin planets, one of which is a very close analogue to Earth. The other twin is a planet of mostly water and violent storms, hence the title of the book. The Green planet looks to be primarily a lush, jungle paradise with very little animal life, outside of insects.
Latner evokes a great sense of urgency throughout the novel, as well as the palpable tension that isolation from civilization might arouse. The characters come to life pretty well throughout most of the story. The story feels like it could be a prequel to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels, thought Latner focuses more on the science than does the Grandmaster. However, the novel was not exactly what I was expecting. Latner took longer to arrive at the destination planet than I would have liked, although this lengthy journey did prove how difficult an endeavor colonizing a planet might be. The novel had some interesting ideas and good character interactions, but overall it didn’t connect with me as much as I would have liked. The novel isn’t bad by any means, but it didn’t quite stand out either.
© 2007 Rob H. Bedford