Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review of Tycho by William Woodall

Tycho a sci-fi novel set not too far into Earth's future, focuses on the adventures of Tycho McGrath and a small group of family, friends and associates who are faced with a tremendous challenge: stay on Earth and most-assuredly die or steal a spaceship and relocate to the moon that was "terra-formed" a half-century before.

Once Tyke and the others make it to the moon (even though some perish in their ship's crash-landing), the next big challenge is to learn how to survive there. Even though it has an atmosphere similar to Earth's, the drastic changes in weather, etc. make it very difficult for the former residents of Earth to refer to the moon as a "home away from home."

Before long, Tyke discovers that the scientists who turned the moon into a little Earth were a bit too enthusiastic about the enduring effects of the drastic transformation.

Woodall tells an interesting sci-fi story, through the eyes of Tycho the young scientist, of what might happen to Earth if someone releases a virus - intentionally or not - that can kill every creature on the planet that has lungs. The novel's first chapters are interesting as Tyke and more than a few others develop the plan to steal the spaceship and head for the moon. I was hoping for a bit more tension here - as well as more description - of how the Orion Strain was rapidly making its way around the globe. I suppose I was thinking about the novel The Andromeda Strain as well as its film adaptation as I read the beginning chapters of Tycho. Woodall also uses the first two-three chapters to reveal how intelligent Tyke is. Learning that the narrator was not a typical nerdy/goofy/uppity teenager was a pleasant and welcome surprise!

Now the part of the novel that feels too much like a summmary (where it seems that Woodall wanted to "run through" the section as fast as possible to get to the "fun stuff") was the middle part. Let's just say that the summary part begins right when the characters fall into a routine of living on the moon to when another Orion Strain disaaster occurs.

But right about when Tyke convinces enough people that the moon is not a good place to raise a family to the very end of the novel (not including the epilogue!) is the best part of Tycho. Woodall paces the life-and-death action scenes with effective and mature dialogue. Getting to the last third of the novel made wading through the first 2/3 worth the effort.

Editing-wise, Tycho is relatively free of anything that detracts from the plotline. I also appreciate that the novel is completely free of any use of gratuitous profanity, etc. If this were a movie, it would have to be rated PG (and that is only due to a few places of blood and gore that is standard fare for all action/adventure novels).

I was given a PDF version of Tycho in exchange for my honest opinions about the novel.

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