The Outback Stars
By Sandra McDonald
(Tor Science Fiction, Mass Market Paperback, 9780765355553, 400pp.)
Publication Date: February 5, 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is a hero. She has the medals and the scars to prove it.
She's cooling her heels on Kookaburra, recovering from injuries sustained during the fiery loss of her last ship, the Yangtze, and she's bored -- so bored, in fact, that she takes a berth on the next ship out. That's a mistake. The Aral Sea isn't anyone's idea of a get-well tour.
Jodenny 's handed a division full of misfits, incompetents, and criminals. She's a squared-away officer. She thinks she can handle it all. She's wrong. Aral Sea isn't a happy ship. And it's about to get a lot unhappier.
As Aral Sea enters the Alcheringa -- the alien-constructed space warp that allows giant settler-ships to travel between worlds, away from all help or hope -- Jodenny comes face to face with something powerful enough to dwarf even the unknown force that destroyed her last ship and left her with missing memories and bloody nightmares. Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is about to be introduced to love.
Author Sandra McDonald brings her personal knowledge of the military, and of the subtle interplay between men and women on deployment, to a stirring tale that mixes ancient Australian folklore with the colonization of the stars.
Sandra McDonald has been a Hollywood assistant, a software instructor, a bureaucrat, and an officer in the United States Navy. Her short fiction has appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida.
“Likeable characters, excellent development, and a series of interlocking puzzles worked out against Australian culture that most Americans will find exotic. A smart, fun, read.”
--David Drake on The Outback Stars
“The Outback Stars takes a number of interesting ideas and weaves them into a fast-moving page-turner--rivalry aboard a large naval vessel, surviving a terrible accident, mysterious deaths, among other things. But what really sets it apart is the introduction of Australasian Aboriginal myth and cosmology as an integral part of the ways and means of interstellar travel. The author shows intimate knowledge of the nuts and bolts of what really makes big ships tick--and her careful attention to the elements of Aboriginal culture makes this even more worthy of a reader's time."
--Walter Hunt, author of The Dark Ascent
"Sandra McDonald knows the Navy, what makes a ship run well and what can make it run badly. Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is the sort of tough, smart but thoroughly human officer we'd all like alongside us in an emergency. She and the other vivid characters in The Outback Stars propel forward a great story combining military fiction and criminal investigation in space."
--John G. Hemry, author of Against All Enemies and (as Jack Campbell) The Lost Fleet: Dauntless