The Creative Fire (book one of Ruby’s Song) by Brenda Cooper (book review).

From the start, author Brenda Cooper points out her lead character, Ruby Martin, has been influenced by the life of Eva Peron in her latest book, ‘The Creative Fire’. If I hadn’t read the back cover, I wouldn’t have known Ruby’s profession or the fact that she is part of a crew on a generation ship. Granted on such vehicles you’re likely to forget there’s a whole universe out there but this doesn’t inform the reader as to what is going on.

Essentially, it’s discovered that Ruby has a nice singing voice and is plucked from her job to one of the other pods to sing to people as part of a rebellion. Quite why they are rebelling, I have no idea. It’s as if Cooper’s forgot to demonstrate why the main crew of the generation ship are oppressive so you end up wondering what the fuss is about. I only get the hint that they want to return to the home planet but if they’ve been going for an indefinite length of time, surely no one would be alive by the time they return, nor is there any indication of how long they’ve been in flight. As it has to be a multi-generational spaceship, then all these folk would know is being on-board rather than on acrophobic planet. It’s also one-sided. You don’t really see the captain or his views on all of this.

Things aren’t helped in that Cooper’s prose feels monotone and lacks emotional content to empower the characters. It isn’t as though she can’t do this, as witnessed by her earlier books, but she’s going to have a serious problem if she keeps this up through the rest of the books in this particular series.

After her previous book series, I know Cooper can do far better than this and I would hesitate to even call this Science Fiction, simply because the setting is incidental and there are no tropes to take it away from general fiction.

GF Willmetts

(pub: Pyr/Prometheus Books. 352 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £15.99 (UK), $17.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-61614-684-9)

check out websites: www.pyrsf.com and www.brenda-cooper.com

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