20 October 2014

Books: Bouncing Off the Moon by David Gerrold (2001)

Bouncing Off the Moon, the continuation of Jumping Off the Planet (literally is begins mere hours after the first book) and the second book in David Gerrold’s Dingillian series, we see narrator Charles "Chigger" Dingillian, his older brother Douglas and younger brother Bobby begin a new life after divorcing their squabbling parents. The Moon is their destination, but before they can really plan the trip, they discover that all is not well at Geosynchronous Station: there’s a new plague on Earth that resulted in social and economic collapse of the planet, with the rich and powerful trying to escape, even if it means doing things illegally. So, with the aid of a Russian money-surfer named Alexei and Mickey, the son of the judge who helped the boys with their legal issues (and now Douglas’ boyfriend), the boys set out in an automated cargo pod bound for the Moon.  Through Alexei, the brothers realize the moon is an unforgiving and potentially deadly environment, but also begin to wonder if several mishaps along the way are just that or deliberate attempts at murder. Slowly, both Douglas and Charles realize that neither Alexei nor Mickey can be trusted but with ruthless interplanetary corporations on their heels in search of a toy monkey that seems to possesses a computer far more advanced than might be required of a toy, they’ll need all their wits to figure out who is their friend and who is their foe.

Once again, Gerrold creates a wonderful, realistic tale of speculative future. And unlike the recent spate of post-apocalyptic future YA books like The Hunger Games, Gerrold’s goal seems to be –as the vintage science fiction books of Heinlein and Asimov used to do- want to create a believable future, one where things play out logically. In the end, Gerrold creates a riveting and engaging story that is equally funny as it is harrowing.

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