Read 2008/14 – Red Thunder

Book: 14
Title: Red Thunder

Author: John Varley
Genre: Science Fiction
Why did you get this book? The author was recommended to me by observethebanana.com.
Did you enjoy the book? Yes. The book is, according to Wikipedia, a homage to the juvenile science fiction novel written by Robert A. Heinlein. Which perhaps explains why I enjoyed the book since Heinlein’s juvenile science fiction were my introduction to science fiction more years ago than I care to remember.
Was the author new to you? Yes. What can I say – some things slip by unnoticed.
Would you read something by this author again? Yes. I appreciated that the story arc was kept tight. This in contrast to Heinlein who, in later books, tended to bloat up his books with his social theories.
Are you keeping it or passing it on? I am keeping it.
Anything else? Our heroes accidentally meet up with an alcoholic ex-astronaut and his savant cousin. Together they build a space ship out of second hand railroad tanker cars and attempt to beat the Chinese to Mars and save the day. Strangely the thing that irritated me most in the book was the part when they were testing the tanker to see whether it could stand up to vacuum. The pumped air out of the tank when what they should have done was increased the air pressure inside the tank to twice air pressure. After all space is on the outside.
Number of pages: 411
Total pages for the year: 4001

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4 Responses to Read 2008/14 – Red Thunder

  1. Cliff Burns says:

    RED THUNDER is very minor Varley. To see the man at his best, read his masterpiece STEEL BEACH. Or his short stories, collected in THE PERSISTENCE OF VISION and other tomes…

  2. mph says:

    Thanks for the recommendation Cliff. I will check it out. Because of the circumstances the book was bought under the choice of book was almost totally random. I said to the person who acquired the book for me “buy anything by John Varley that is not in the middle of a series”.

  3. I will soon be introduced to Varley as well. I have Steel Beach on my shelf waiting to be read — picked it up at a library sale.

    Red Thunder, however, doesn’t sound like anything I’d enjoy; I’m not interested in juvenile sf by any author.

  4. observethebanana says:

    Glad you liked Red Thunder. I encourage you to continue with the other two books in the trilogy, Red Lightening and Rolling Thunder to see the story continue. Although definitely patterned after Heinleins juvenile fiction, I do not think these are in any way to juvenile for adults to enjoy. I am just finishing a collection of his short stories called “The Varley Reader” which has exposed me to many other sides of this interesting author and his Eight Worlds stories. I had also managed to somehow overlook Varley until recently (so many authors out there) but I am having fun discovering his work. Also, from your recommendation, I recently picked up a Simak book at a used book store and will be starting it next.
    -and thanks for the link

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