Red Thunder

Red Thunder Red Thunder by John Varley
My review
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I believe that the best science fiction doesn’t get bogged down in the science part. If you try too hard to make your science believable, your readers will try harder to disbelieve it. The thing about Ringworld was that Larry Niven constructed a very interesting, but potentially flawed, so much that he was compelled to write the sequel, Ringworld Engineers, to try to rebut some of the criticism he received.
In Red Thunder, there is little science to defend, as John Varley makes up a device that manipulates the fifth and sixth dimensions to create free energy. The key to the book is that it is character driven, and the characters are a fun motley crew. The space race has continued, and the Chinese are going to beat us to Mars. Not only that, but our ship is fatally flawed and in danger. It’s left to our crew of kids and Cajuns to beat the Chinese and help the American crew. Varley succeeds in creating a largely Earth-based tale of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, and makes the science part of the science fiction just another interesting character rather than a flaw. I’ve added the sequel “Red Lightning” to my list.
Next up is The Ax by Donald Westlake.