By L. K. Modesitt, Jr.
The first sentence of Solar Express is 117 words long. This is worth taking note of both because it marks an exception to the general trend in today’s fiction, which is toward ever shorter sentences, and because it says something about L. K. Modesitt’s brand of hard SF, which is chewy with technical detail.
Our heroine, Alayna Wong-Grant, is stationed on a lonely lunar base where she’s in charge of a giant radio telescope. Two items, which may be related, are soon on her radar: a piece of alien technology that’s entering our galactic neighbourhood, and some strange new solar activity.
As the “solar express” draws near, the other main character, Captain Christopher Tavoian, is shanghaied into some high-level maneuvering that involves the militarization of space by the several Earth-based regional blocs that arose after the catastrophe of global climate meltdown (Canada, in case you’re wondering, is now part of “Noram”).
Can humankind get its act together in time? As a species we seem to do better in crisis mode, so there’s still hope.