Rocket Boy and the Geek Girls
Edited by Phyllis Irene Radford and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Review by Cathy Green
Book View Cafe PDF
Date: 18 December 2009
Links: Book View Cafe / Show Official Info /
The first section of the book, Space, not surprisingly, involves stories of space travel and space stations. However, the stories are generally not tradition space opera.
Sarah Zettel's "Kinds of Strangers" is a story of astronauts whose return to Earth from the asteroid belt is imperiled by multiple system and mechanical failures, but the majority of the story takes place in the head of one the characters rather than emphasizing the action involved in making repairs and other measures necessary to save the ship and get back to Earth.
A highlight of this section was Nancy Jane Moore's "Blindsided by Venus in the House of Mars", which I assume owes its title in part to Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus, which is partly traditional space opera about a small independent cargo ship and its crew but is also about the relationship between the male pilot and the woman who is the sole crew member. Moore focuses on the characters' personal sense of morality – how far each one is willing to go and where each draws the line. This is a theme that Moore has addressed in other stories as well, with her background in law and martial arts adding an interesting perspective to issues such as when to fight and where to draw the line (or at least that's what I took away from her short story collection Conscientious Inconsistencies and especially the commentaries written for each story).
In the third section, Aliens, I particularly enjoyed Katharine Kerr's "It's Own Reward", which involved an SFPD homicide detective trying to solve a murder among a diplomatic delegation from another planet. Brenda Clough's story about a woman infected by an alien parasite and Sylvia Kelso's story of the romance between a woman and an alien water sprite/merman were also really good.
The fourth section, Humanity, featured a number of stories about people creating their own personal hells. I particularly liked Jennifer Stevenson's story about a used bookstore owner coping with two rival obsessive collectors.
Rocket Boy And The Geek Girls appears to be available exclusively as an e-publication. As I do not have a Kindle or other e-reader, I read the pdf version using Preview on my Macbook. I found the font choice and size easy on my eyes and the links embedded in the table of contents made it easy to skip from story to story (no need to page through in order from page 1 to page 391 unless you want to). I liked how the collection was organized thematically and there wasn't a bad story in the collection. I look forward to future e-publications from the Bookview Cafe.