Books by A.J. Austin

TO FEAR THE LIGHT by Ben Bova
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Nov. 1, 1994

The sequel to To Save the Sun (1992) shares the previous book's large-canvas premise as the Empire of the Hundred Worlds pursues a generation-spanning project to save Earth's dying sun. Despite the hard-science backdrop, much of the plot concerns Lord Jephthah, a mysterious demagogue who preaches hatred of the alien Sarpan. Now the discovery of still another new race on a distant planet sends the finest minds of the Empire to study it — as does Jephthah, who seeks new evidence to discredit the Emperor, followed by Imperial agents hoping to catch Jephthah. Many of the central characters from the previous volume — long-lived through life-extension technology or cryogenic sleep — make return appearances. In an interesting, but insufficiently developed subplot, an Australian aborigine leader named Billy Woorunmarra attempts to reconnect his far-flung people with their traditions. Well-paced, if sometimes melodramatic; overall an improvement over its predecessor. Read full book review >
TO SAVE THE SUN by Ben Bova
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Sept. 23, 1992

One of the leading luminaries of hard science fiction (Mars, 1992, etc.) teams up with newcomer Austin for this "fix-up" novel, some parts of which appeared as long ago as 1978. A spacegoing empire dedicates its resources to preventing the death of Earth's sun, the star under which humanity originated. A dying emperor is won over by the young woman who has discovered the process that makes possible the rejuvenation of a star, and passes the task on to his son as the great undertaking of the race. The imperial capital is moved to Earth's moon, and the project set into motion. But all too soon, the grand imaginative scope of the beginning chapters here drifts into business as usual. Instead of an epic sweep, the plot winds down into weakly connected episodes (sabotage by fanatics, rivalry between the new emperor's sons, a civil war on a distant colony) before returning to its original direction with a test of the solar rejuvenation process. Despite an audacious premise, a strong cast of characters, and Bova's knack for political intrigue, this is finally a disappointment. Read full book review >