Ceresby L. Neil Smith
Her older brother Wilson is equally set on quitting his job as a surveyor's
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In the 22nd century people have spread into the Solar System. Born and raised in a twentieth of Earth's gravity on the asteroid Pallas, young skater Llyra Ngu is grimly determined to compete and win on mankind's homeworld—an ambition that many say will cripple or kill her.
Her older brother Wilson is equally set on quitting his job as a surveyor's apprentice to become an asteroid hunter, a calling fraught with the promise of fabulous riches and the danger of sudden death. He will find a full share of romance and disappointment, love and loss, and pursue the asteroid hunter's holy grail, the legendary Diamond Rogue.
Llyra's training will require years, and a journey that will take her to Ceres, at one tenth Earth's gravity, where her father bosses the Ceres Terraformation Project, to the one-sixth gravity of the Moon, to Mars and one third gravity, and finally to Earth. Along the way, she will survive jealous rivals, a hostile press, terrorist attacks, and the hijacking of a spaceliner in order to achieve her goal.
In the end, Llyra and Wilson will hear the call of the stars, themselves.
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CERES is a solid sequel to L. Neil Smith's classic novel PALLAS. The Ngu family are fascinating folks with astute minds for freedom, individualism and business. Yes, this is libertarian science fiction and Smith pulls no punches. The story revolves around Llyra Ngu, whose goal is to win an ice skating competition on Earth; and her brother, Wilson Ngu, who aspires to be successful at harvesting asteroids for valuable minerals. In fact, Wilson is looking for the ultimate prize in the Belt. Llyra's goal is a tall order as she is a resident of Pallas, an asteroid with a mere 1/20th of the gravity of Earth. She toughens herself up by first skating on the Moon, then Mars, and only then making the trip to Earth, each locale requiring her to adjust to the heavier gravity. Along the way, she and her Russian assistant endure lecherous advances, bad "Moose and Squirrel" puns, and a hijacking of the space liner they are on. Wilson's path is not easy either. He learns the ropes, getting detoured briefly by a romantic episode with a woman he loves but she is part of a very strange spacefaring family that was only interested in getting his DNA. The ending for both tales is quite satisfying. CERES is a very good read and I recommend it, especially if you are a libertarian!