Rocket Science

Overview

In ROCKET SCIENCE, Jay Lake's first novel, Vernon Dunham's friend Floyd Bellamy has returned to Augusta, Kansas after serving in World War II, but he hasn't come back empty-handed: he's stolen a super-secret aircraft right from under the Germans. Vernon doesn't think it's your ordinary run-of-the-mill aircraft. For one thing, it's been buried under the Arctic ice for hundreds of years. When it actually starts talking to him, he realizes it doesn't belong in Kansas-or anywhere on...
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Rocket Science

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Overview

In ROCKET SCIENCE, Jay Lake's first novel, Vernon Dunham's friend Floyd Bellamy has returned to Augusta, Kansas after serving in World War II, but he hasn't come back empty-handed: he's stolen a super-secret aircraft right from under the Germans. Vernon doesn't think it's your ordinary run-of-the-mill aircraft. For one thing, it's been buried under the Arctic ice for hundreds of years. When it actually starts talking to him, he realizes it doesn't belong in Kansas-or anywhere on Earth.

The problem is, a lot of folks know about the ship and are out to get it, including the Nazis, the U.S. Army-and that's just for starters. Vernon has to figure out how to communicate with the ship and unravel its secrets before everyone catches up with him. If he ends up dead, and the ship falls into the wrong hands, it won't take a rocket scientist to predict the fate of humanity.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
When Vernon's friend Floyd returns to Kansas after World War II, he brings back the usual souvenir German weapons as well as an entire top-secret aircraft formerly buried in the Arctic. Once the plane demonstrates its full capabilities, the two friends realize that they must guard it with their lives lest it fall into the wrong hands. Staying just one step ahead of government agencies and several clandestine organizations, Vernon and Floyd have to figure out how to direct the plane's internal intelligence system. Lake-winner of the 2004 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and author of several highly praised short story collections (e.g., Greetings from Lake Wu)-presents a fast-moving, quirky sf adventure as fresh and entertaining as its two heroes. Lake is an up-and-coming sf writer to watch. For most sf collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780974657363
  • Publisher: Fairwood Press, Inc
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 0.51 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 8.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2006

    A time trip to the golden age of Science Fiction

    Vernon Dunham likes airplanes but he never imagined one would like him back. He thought he had learned everything about airplanes working as a parts buyer for B29 production in Wichita, but when Vernon¿s best friend Floyd Bellamy comes home from WWII Europe, the learning is just beginning. Hey mom, look what followed me home! Can I keep it? A dog, maybe, but a talking alien spacecraft dug out from under the arctic ice by Nazis, certainly not! The arrival of Floyd and his airplane turns Vernon¿s world upside down and inside out. A secret like Pegasus is hard to keep and close on Floyd¿s heels are the Nazis, the Army CID, the County Sheriff, and the local cops not necessarily in that order. Vernon is in over his head very quickly as all these elements conspire to capture Pegasus while they tear his world apart taking from him trust in everything and everyone he has ever known, including his best friend. Finally he realizes that he can only trust himself and his new friend, the alien flying machine. This is truly a classic Science Fiction story. This book has a great retro feel to it and Jay Lake takes you back to a simpler more innocent America. I spent some time growing up in Oklahoma near the Kansas border and Jay has really captured that part of rural America. (Nazi sleeper cells, the Italian mafia, moonshine runners, and communists not withstanding.) The only thing Jay left out of the political soup he concocted were Civil War Confederate holdovers and the KKK. All of the organizations scrambling to get their hands on Pegasus are eventually thwarted by two young men from small town America. Jay unfolds a plot designed to make the average reader feel smarter than the hero. Another retro facet of this book is that it is a male story. This book is a great read for any young man. In the current era of female dominated editorial staffs and agencies this book is a breath of fresh air for the male reader. How will this translate to sales? We¿ll have to watch. Women need their literature too but let¿s hope that Jay continues to supply material for this increasingly neglected market. There are a couple of logistical hiccups that I scratched my head over but the plot moved fast enough that I shrugged them off. (Such as, if you can¿t feel accelerations while riding in the alien ship, why did it have such an elaborate seat belt system? Hmmm?) If you¿re looking for a fun read without having to do a lot of thinking, I¿m happy to recommend Rocket Science. Reviewed by Hugh Mannfield at stormbold.com

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2005

    Expected More

    This was a strange vehicle to carry Mr. Lake's debut novel. I have enjoyed much of his short fiction. It is insightful, well wrought, and usually surprising. This little novel, however, was a disappointment. I suppose the aim here was madcap adventure in a 1940s vein. But the characters were 2D. The plot twists, while they strove to keep the reader off balance, mostly served to annoy. There seemed to be nothing to endear the characters to the reader, not even the main character's handicap (from childhood polio). The number of typos in this novel was surprising. I know the publisher is a small press, but that is no excuse. The mistakes became so numerous that I found myself routinely drawn out of the story (such as it was). Overall, Rocket Science was a real disappointment from a writer who has real talent. I hope his sophmore novel can put this first clunker to bed.

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