Gift of Change
Author: D Sanders
Publisher: iUniverse (2001)
Binding: Paperback, 232 pages
A talent for overcoming impossible odds, that's what got Jason McCullan, a brilliant Imperial engineering officer made a hero of the Empire. Now that the Empire has turned against him, he'll need every ounce of that talent if he and his starship crew are to survive.
Of course everyone needs a little help. For Jason, his pilot Falon, and their artificially intelligent ships computer, Fred, help comes in the form of a dead telepathic alien and a superior, ancient technology with a mind of its own. But free help can be as dangerous as free advice, as Jason and his friends soon find themselves struggling against the very technology that could save them. Jason and his friends must master this technology before either it or the Empire can control them. They will have to turn impossible odds into survival solutions.
Tennessee Williams once said that if you're writing about suffering from a terrible itching sensation all over your body, don't say you went to the doctor and he diagnosed eczema. Names destroy the mystery of the thing. This is very good advice for writers, but should it apply to science fiction writers as well, who tend to rely heavily on jargon to tell a story? "I changed course using the energizers to control fuel flow rate to the ion fusion chambers and further controlled the thrust rate by varying the gravatonic field in the ion lens." D.T. Sanders, who is an electronic engineer and retired naval reserve commander, has done a commendable job giving names to futuristic devices and functions in his book Gift of Change, which seems to be his dream of being a flight engineer aboard a starship carrying precious payloads piloted by a beautiful and seductive partner named Falon. Jason, the hero of the story, is an engineering officer aboard the Boundless, the astronautical equivalent of a merchant-marine vessel. He is an adventurer, inventor, businessman, and telepath being chased by the Empire for reasons not even the onboard computer Fred can easily decipher. Could it be an evil spirit from his past? It seems that Jason's only crime is being a successful merchant and the Empire doesn't like that. He has been "Civilized," but the powers that be must still kill him. The devotee of science fiction will like this freewheeling spirit and will root for him through the most catastrophic of interplanetary battles and confrontations. The reader unfamiliar with the way sci-fi novels unfold might be confused by the plot, but there are moments of clarity in the form of after-action narratives. This is often the case with military operations where combat is sheer chaos and nobody knows what the hell really happened.
Reviewed by: Richard Barone (2009)