When it came out, the book was named to the Locus Recommended Reading list and Reader’s Poll. Reviewers at the time said:
The novels follow the adventures of Quarnian Dow, a space adventuress who is guided by her irresistible intuition, forcing her to take actions without knowing why. It’s part space opera, part troubled superhero.
If you’re in the mood for an old-fashioned, fast-paced science fiction novel, I think you’ll enjoy the two books.
*Other authors published by Fantastic include Mike Resnick, Alan Steele, Michael Moorcock, James Gunn, and Tanith Lee. Even if you aren’t interested in my books, there are other that may interest you (Keith Taylor’s Servant of the Jackal God is especially good).
Seriously, if you read the review, you’ll note he doesn’t talk about the things that most people think make a good book: plot and characterization. His ox is that I got the science wrong.
The problem is that he gets the science wrong. His main complaint is that I didn’t understand how evolution works, yet his comments indicate that he assumes that evolution was based upon mutations.
But in the book, I specifically said that the evolutionary issues were due to two factors:
The fact that the evolutionary traits were always present, but only became apparent in a different environment. My model was things like antibiotic resistant bacteria. It’s not that they mutate to gain resistance; it’s that there always were antibiotic resistant bacteria, but that they were very few. Once antibiotics are introduced, it killed the non-resistant bacteria, but the few that were resistant were able to survive and pass that trait along. The more subtle point I’m making is that there are people with these genetic traits right now, but that they aren’t important in our current environment.
Similarly, he complains vehemently about how little time it takes to get to the Staroamer. It took six weeks, and I did the math: assuming Earth escape velocity, the Staroamer is about 28 million miles away. Not a great distance, but a significant one, and it’s also established that it’s not in a place anyone bothers looking.
The book may have some fanciful science, but it’s not bad science.
No one complained about the science when the book came out, and most of the reviews were positive. It was listed on the Locus Reader’s Poll for best first novel – which was quite an accomplishment since the book had only been out two months when the poll was taken.
But criticizing the science is missing the point. The book is a space opera/superhero book; it is not meant to be hard SF, but rather an entertaining adventure. If you want hard sf, this isn’t the book for you. But if you want a good story, you won’t be disappointed.
It’s relatively easy to self-publish to epub. If you have any backlog of works that are out of print, it can be far more profitable to manage it yourself than let even a dedicated small press handle it.
I’ve been curious ever since I saw mention of this book here, and I’m genuinely not being facetious about this: Why did you title the book “Staroamer’s Fate” instead of “Starroamer’s Fate” or “Star-Roamer’s Fate”?
Every time I see that title, part of my mind wonders if the characters are roaming stas or oaming stars.