I just finished Varley's Rolling Thunder. This is the 3 book in the Red
Lightning trilogy. If you haven't read it, here's a brief synopsis of the 1st 2
1. In Red Lighting 4 young people in their early 20s, 2 men, 2 women, meet
a washed up alcoholic ex-astronaut who has a cousin who is a genius. The
cousin has developed bubble technology that the 4 young people use to go to
Mars. They build a spacecraft out of old railroad tank cars, take off, beat the
Chinese to Mars, rescue the American astronauts, and all end well. This is
very much a take off on a Heinlein juvenile, except the main characters are a
little older, and they have sex and drink.
2. Red Thunder is set about 25 years after Red Lighting and starts or Mars.
The main characters from Red Lighting are older and have settled on Mars.
They run hotels and businesses and have children. The story starts when a
very unusual meteor strikes the Atlantic and the eastern seaboard of the US is
destroyed by tidal waves. They go to Earth to rescue their relatives and try
to help. Later, the fight off an attack by Earth forces and save Mars. All
Rolling Thunder is set about 25 years after Red Thunder and is the story of
Podkayne Garcia, daughter of two of the main characters from Red Thunder.
She is in the Martian Navy and travels around entertaining the troops in the far
flung Martian bases. They make some unusual discoveries on Europa, try to
save Earth from an alien attack, and finally leave the Solar System in a
I've enjoyed Varley's work and was hoping that Rolling Thunder would be as
good as the 1st two, but it fell apart halfway thru. I was disappointed. The
characters got flat and predictable, there was a lot of preaching about sex.
Varley used his book as a pulpit to attack a lot of what we'd call 'family
values' in the US, and it just left me flat. I found myself hurrying through
the end just to get done. About the only interesting idea was a discussion
on why there seem to be extinctions on Earth about every 65-80 million years.
I was glad I got it from the library instead of spending a lot buying it.
**************Need a new ride? Check out the largest site for U.S. used car
listings at AOL Autos.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]