Hurricane Moon by Alexis Glynn Latner. Review by Mike Brendan

Book Cover

In Print
Interplanetary colonization is not a new theme to SF. It's been resurrected as of late, with Allen Steele's Coyote one of the most prominent titles. Latner makes a similar contribution with her forthcoming novel Hurricane Moon.

The novel starts out with a dystopic Earth in the beginning of its ecological death throes. A privately-funded foundation sponsors and lets loose a massive colony ship to relocate ten thousand settlers on a new world believed to be habitable. To survive the slower than light journey, everyone goes into stasis. As expected, things go south from there.

While various crises are encountered through the course of the novel, the tension never seems to escalate. In fact, it stays constant to the point of stagnation. Not even the two major discoveries about the new planet and its strange water bearing moon help to heighten the tension. To make matters worse many of the problems the colonists faceóboth physical and psychologicalóremain unresolved.

Indeed, this novel seems to be more about the alien nature of the situation than about the plight of the colonists. Unfortunately, we don't get enough of a feel for that alien nature because the humans are the only "people" there. The scenery of the new world is too easily compared to its Terran counterpart, and the only thing that makes the world different is the planet's moon. The ambient life is rendered insignificant until the end, and with some of the questionable logic throughout the narrative, it comes across as a void in the setting.

What pulled me out of the story altogether is when the Captain of the ship mandates the fabrication of a religious holiday and several ecumenistic ceremonies. While it's not mandatory to attend, it certainly didn't feel like it. I had several gripes with this, the first being the exclusion of several spiritual perspectives. Aspects of this holy day were drawn exclusively from Jewish, Christian, and Wiccan faiths. Nothing else comes into the mix. Second was that two of the three ceremonies involved separation by genderóthe male congregation was held under Christian auspice, the female under Wiccan. I felt insulted by witnessing such segregation, for who's to say what faith is best suited for anyone? Not I, and certainly not this author. But the final straw came when I noticed that every named character in the novel was involved in the holiday, and I realized that this was a mandatory event. What about the nine-thousand odd colonists still in stasis on board the ship? I would think these people should have some say in the matter.

With no sustained conflict or climax, info dumps, a poorly coordinated romance and forced dialogues on religion and sexuality, Hurricane Moon is a novel with a potentially strong concept, but poor execution. Not a title I recommend.

Mike Brendan is a graduate of the Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University, having specialized in speculative fiction. He lives and writes in Pittsburgh with his cat and several computers, and runs a blog on LiveJournal.