A great read. The discovery of a means of jumping into space and great distances with a minimum of time and energy creates a social upheavial when the well meaning inventor gives the secret away to the world. Set slightly in the future the general tone is upbeat and with enough huomour interjected to make it fun but it does make you think about what would happen if the ability to go directly to orbit was available to everyone that could build a space ship, which by the way in this case is built out of a common every day septic tank. However comming back down is not as simple as going up becasue the hyper drive has a problem displacing atmosphere so the fun is in getting back down.
The book is a quick read and just plain fun and has a happy upbeat ending.
This report prepared by William Rawls
Tor, Dec 2001, 26.95, 400 pp.
Allen Meisner is a member of the International Network of Scientists Against Nuclear Extermination, better known as INSANE, an acronym that can be easily applied to this maniac. Though he is a walking hard drive error, this Pollyanna-like genius apparently develops an incredibly efficient and effective hyper drive engine that can take anyone on an interstellar journey faster than the speed of light for very low costs.
Allen expects his concept to change the world in a positive manner, but shockingly many fellow earthlings fear his new technology. Governments acting as ever in self-serving interest battle over whom owns the hyper drive-based power that now is being implemented to propel bombs. Allen and his pilot Judy Gallagher search the heavens for allies to stop Armageddon on earth. They ultimately return to earth accompanied by a brilliant butterfly and other aliens in a quest to save the planet from its most sentient yet stupid habitants.
THE GETAWAY SPECIAL is a satire on mad scientists and outer space adventure stories. The story line is often humorous as the nutty but optimistic Meisner and his heroic pilot hyper-leap from one dangerous scenario to another. However, the plot is a few scenes too many as the basic underlying theme of punishing those who care becomes almost as out of control as the scientist is. Overall, Jerry Oltion has written an amusing novel that those readers who relish a lot of wacky irony jabbing our modern day world will find delightfully engaging.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner