Cathy 's Reviews > The Outback Stars

The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald
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's review
Nov 01, 10

bookshelves: zz-challenge-bcc-scifi-2010, zz-challenge-library-borrowed-2010, zz-challenge-new-author-2010, mythology, read-in-2010, romance, science-fiction
Recommended to Cathy by: Annalee Newitz from io9
Read from October 29 to November 01, 2010

This book was very clearly written by someone who has been in the military. The detailed day-to-day life of a career officer is, well, detailed. There are a lot of minor character names, acronyms and titles thrown around, making it occasionally hard to follow. I could have done without about 1/2 of the first 1/2 of the book. But it certainly shows how important support services are to the military; many if not most jobs aren't glamorous, but they are necessary. I'm not sure why Jodenny was so eager to get away from her paperwork pushing job on the planet to get back to a bureaucratic job on the ship. But it was interesting to see how the military culture and lifestyle played out. It just took too long to weave in elements of the larger story. Or at least to see what those elements were.

As for the heart of the story, both Jodenny and Terry are quite likable. She may be a bit too good at her job, but not in an annoying way. My heart went out to Myell, the victim of some serious bullying. It took an awfully long time to indicate what the big mystery was and to build any momentum behind it. I'd have liked more focus on that and the Aboriginal mythology, the history of the mysterious transportation system they are using, and the new mystery that Jodenny and co. stumble upon. But the series is clearly leading up to dealing more with all three.

I'd also have liked to see more build up of the love story. It always bugs me when people suddenly declare that they're in love when they've barely had a conversation. To me that's a crush, or lust, or even recognition of a deeper connection, but love takes time and experience to build. But the connection did feel believable and it was fine.

Overall I'd say it was a pretty interesting piece of military sci-fi (minus the battles, yay!) with some good characters in an interesting if still mostly unexplored universe.
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Reading Progress

10/29/2010 page 1
0.0% "Angie's review (below) says, "The Outback Stars is military scifi meets space opera meets Australian mythology." And my friend Jeffrey gave it 4*. Should be good!" 1 comment
10/30/2010 page 53
13.0% "Lots of names and acronyms, can't keep them straight. But more interesting Australian mythology/folklore : Wondjina, Alcheringa and the Seven Sisters. Probably missed a few things too because I can't tell what's made up and what's drawn from reality." 1 comment
10/31/2010 page 59
14.0% "Can't see yet where the shipboard bureaucracy is better than the planetary one, but she sure has supervisory challenges. Bunch a losers need a tough boss and Jodenny's just the woman for the job." 3 comments

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Jeffrey I think you will find a lot of your questions answered in the second book, which is a lot more mystical. (maybe too much, but I still liked it). There is third book, but my library did not buy it so I am just thinking about it.


Jeffrey I think you will find that the second book has a high dose of the mystical, but that might be a good thing -- how often do we really get australian mythology in america.

My library did not buy book 3 so thinking of getting but waiting to pb.

Hope you like it


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