For this book review, I decided to take a break from my usual group of marauding submariners, and head up into outer space. We concern ourselves with John Nance's Orbit.

The novel's protagonist is Kip Wilson. The year is 2009, and Kip wins a free trip to outer space. The space vehicle is a larger version of Spaceship One, which was the first commercial spaceship, and won the X prize. The plan is for four passengers and an astronaut pilot to go for a four orbit ride in space.

Let's say that nothing goes according to plan. Before too long, Kip is alone in space, with his radio out, and a malfunctioning spaceship. There is no way to communicate with the outside world. Space faring nations all try to get an emergency rescue mission together. In the meantime Kip decides to write his "tell all" memoirs that no one will read for fifty years- or so he thinks.

Orbit is a fascinating novel in that on one level it is a story of a space mission gone bad, like a not too distant future Apollo 13. On the deeper level, we have the tale of a condemned man writing his memoirs interwoven into this. As he writes his life story, we get to know this character quite well and gain quite a deeper understanding of him. Orbit also has the theme of what one person will do to survive.

Orbit falls somewhere between a thriller, and true science fiction. Fans of either genre will enjoy this well crafted book which is quite compact for the size of the story.

Overall Grade: B+

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