Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hubpoint Of No Return, by Christopher L. Bennett

★★★★☆ Fun characters in a cool setting, with tension, but lots of laughs

(Space Opera Humor; The Hub Gates) David gets kidnapped by aliens who stole the cyborg fish he bought with money he saved from his job as an interstellar telemarketer. He may yet get his chance to show an Earthman can crack the secrets of the Hub though. (12,530 words; Time: 41m)

I read this story without the benefit of reading the first three, and I still enjoyed it thoroughly. So much that I bought "Hub Space: Tales From the Greater Galaxy," which collects the first three stories. They're also fun, but there's no need to read any of them first.

"Hubpoint Of No Return," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 05-06|18, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The best part of the story is the characters, who keep managing to be predictable in unexpected ways. So we expect David to mess things up, but we’re constantly surprised at how he manages to do it. He’s a lovable klutz.

And we know Tsshar is going to steal things, but precisely what gets stolen (David himself, at one point) is always a surprise. (Arguably, she even steals Rynyan’s victory at the end by crediting him with finding the new hubpoints.)

Sensible, practical Nashira grounds everything, but in the process makes it obvious just how offbeat the others are.

The hub network itself makes for a great setting. I was pleased to learn that Analog will be printing two more stories in the series.

Beyond that, the plot has moments of tension, interspersed with some good laughs.

Con: The ending is a bit awkward. For example, we know David was interested in Julio, but Julio doesn't give any sign of returning that interest until suddenly he's all over him. And Tsshar seems to give up her claim to the archive a little too easily.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 05-06|18)
Christopher L. Bennett Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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