Book Review: Expendable by James Alan Gardner (Four Stars)

Book Review: Expendable (League of Peoples, 1) by James Alan Gardner

Four Stars

“Always do the next necessary thing.”

Excellent! Not quite a space opera, but still popcorn for the brain. A tightly-focused adventure by a flawed explorer corps operative unto a planet of no return. She’s slightly flawed physically, but her brain and emotions are fully functional. And she doesn’t like how this is going down.

“I was a child who never believed in fairies, but still told herself fairy tales.”

First published in 1997, this tale holds up better than much twenty-year-old science fiction. Gardner sets the scene and develops the characters as the story progresses. Good storytelling.

“Secrets are flimsy things–spread through too many people, and they get torn.”

Quibble: Since the corps had drones to explore the new planet, why didn’t they watch happened to forty years of missing explorers? A trained survivalist would have pilfered the suits of the dead for additional solvent & fixative. Bodily transparency is a cute angle, but doesn’t make sense.

“You can’t free yourself from duty by running away.”