I read this book about 21-May-2004. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2003. This note was last modified Saturday, 22-May-2004 23:12:38 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
I enjoyed Donald Moffitt a lot when he was a midlist author in the 80s (I'd missed the appearance of The Jupiter Theft). Then he dropped out of sight, and I was dissappointed.
The biographical information in the books told me he'd written under other names, but not SF; and that the first book under his own name was his first SF book. So I figured he was a long-time SF reader who finally broke into the field; and that somehow made it much worse when he disappeared again.
I noticed this re-entry novel last year, but didn't pick it up due to price. But nobody gave me a copy, so I finally broke down and tracked down a used copy via the net. I find in the introduction that in fact I owe this novel to his success with electronic editions of his previous books, and a new publisher that was interested in electronic and print-on-demand work (i-books). I have a feeling this didn't work out all that well commercially, which is a pity. But then, I never did understand why nobody else but me was excited about his earlier books.
I liked this quite as much as I did his earlier books; probably better than the Mechanical Sky series. The main character was engaging, he met an interesting range of people and situations, the background society and technology were very interesting, and so forth.
The main character is probably too talented. He works well with animals, becomes competitive in a wide range of unarmed combat skills in 6 weeks of training, and turns out to be good at running projects as well as working on them. And appears to have political talent. He's also awfully darned lucky to have been picked out of the draft being sent to Mercury.
Actually, I think I would have liked it better if they'd spent more time on Jupiter, and worked out the human relationship with the flapjacks more thoroughly. The technology of life floating in the clouds there is fascinating.