Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dykstra's War

Dykstra's War by Kooistra: This was a solid, (mostly) standalone sci-fi novel.  Like a lot of old sci fi, the ideas carry the day (not so much the plot or execution).  There were some guns hanging on the walls unused at the end, making it seem like the author might have written (or intended to write) a third part.  Which I would totally read if it exists because I really want to know what happened to . . .

Well, anyway, the main protagonist is an aged genius physicist enjoying his retirement but a bit bored when some aliens decide to attack, and the government finds that none of their folks can get the job done.  They've been ignoring Dykstra, thinking him over the hill and worthless, but he's still got some life (and a lot of brainpower) in him, and he gets deeply involved.  There are a decent number of characters, most of them very likeable and none of them with names like Smith or Jones.  I kind of appreciated that a lot.  It was done so effortlessly and practically.  I also liked how a lot of the conflict arose from plain old miscommunication.

One of the pleasant surprises of the book was the way that some of the characters were just allowed to be Christians, and that was treated as a natural part of their characters.  (Some Evangelicals might actually take offense because these are mostly Mainline Protestants/Catholics.)  There's not a lot of this room-for-God-and-people-who-believe-in-Him-in sci-fi nowadays, which I find sad.  This is not any kind of theology book.  It's not C.S. Lewis' Space trilogy or Ender's Shadow.  It's just a world where people of faith can do science and muse about the implications as they try to figure out how to save the world from an alien species they simply can't communicate with.

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