Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Lost Planet

The Lost Planet by Vaughn Heppner

The sixth entry of author Vaughn Heppner’s Lost Starship series follows the main protagonist, Captain Maddox, immediately thrust into action, still seeking answers to his parentage, Riker coming to his rescue when he finds himself in trouble. This entry continues to use the twist that certain important individuals are actually androids, with a general distrust of characters such as the antediluvian Methuselah Man Professor Ludendorff. Light-years away, another aged character, Strand, conspires vengeance against the Professor and another entity known as the Golden Ural aboard his ship, Argo, which quickly finds itself under attack.

Strand boards a rival ship, the Silver Tangier, which he seeks to secure, finding and oftentimes torturing an android named Rose. Back to Maddox and companions, Valerie and Keith enjoy their recreational time and ponder a relationship, with Dr. Dana Rich giving relationship advice to the former. Most of the book’s action occurs on an entity known as the Junkyard Planet, its real name Sind, which could have been an outpost of the ancient Builders, and where the crew of the Victory seeks a place called the Hall of Mirrors in the planet’s Southern Pole Region.

A tribe of cannibals known as the Vendels serves as the novel’s secondary antagonists, with Maddox and his companions needing to deal with them at times. Meanwhile, spaceships known as Juggernauts threaten the Victory in the world’s orbit, with Valerie controlling the Adok vessel in the Captain’s absence. The book gives a little backstory of the Vendels, noting that they are generally apathetic towards science, not to mention Maddox himself, particularly when he was still in grade school and discovered by Star Watch, with the Captain and his allies stuck in Sind’s underworld for much of the story’s latter events.

The narrative concludes with an alien intelligence similar to Galyan aboard the Victory named Sistine la Mort playing a role against the Rull Juggernauts and Argo, accounting for a generally-satisfying story very much on par with its predecessors. As mentioned, however, the plot twist of important characters actually being androids continues to play part, although mercifully only in the book’s earlier events, and there is some confusion about the governments of the Swarm Imperium and the New Men. Regardless, this reviewer would very much recommend this science-fiction yarn to fans of the genre, though he would suggest prospective readers start from the series’ beginning.

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