A. C. Crispin

A. C. Crispin’s STARBRIDGE, Reviewed by Jackson

The eight-year-old and I just finished A. C. Crispin‘s book Starbridge [Amazon | B&N | Kobo]. I read this series a long time ago and remembered enjoying them a lot. We’ve read some fantasy to Jackson, including my goblin books, but this was the first science fiction novel I read to him. I wasn’t sure he’d like it, but I was hoping…

I admit to skimming over a few of the romance/smooching scenes, because eight-year-old interests and attention span. And I’m sure I mangled some of the alien names, but fortunately, Jackson didn’t know.

The best thing I can say about the experience is that when we got done, Jackson immediately asked if we could read book two next.

What follows is his review, prompted by my questions.

What is this book about?

It’s about a girl named Mahree and a boy named Rob and an alien named Dhurrrkk’ who go out to save a bunch of different alien species, including the humans.  It also has Simiu (dog species) and Mizari and Chhhh-kk-tu, and those are only the ones I can remember right now. I think there are 12 kinds of species in that book. And one is so easily frightened that seeing a different species can make it die!

What were the most exciting parts of the story?

I think the most exciting part was when Dhurrrkk’ challenged that other Simiu to a death-challenge.

Who was your favorite character, and why?

I liked Dhurrrkk’ because, well, I can’t really describe it. I liked how he acted. Like at the beginning when Mahree was telling him about human cultures, and when she made a joke, and he was like huh? I don’t understand. What is a joke? And then he tried to make a joke later.

Do you think it would be cool to meet other aliens? What would you like about it?

Yes! Because I’d be able to meet new species and then I’d probably be able to get a super high-tech sword or something like that.

A lot of the characters talk about how important communication is. Do you think they’re right?

Yes, I think they’re right. If you can’t communicate, then pretty much everyone will get into a bunch of fights. Jackson then demonstrated various fight moves, including fake-punching himself in the face.

Mahree made a dangerous decision to try to communicate better, partly because she wanted to be special. Do you think she made the right decision? Would you do something like that?

No, because it almost killed her.

Did you like the ending?

Yes.

Who should read this book?

Everyone!

Ann Crispin

The first time I read one of Ann (A. C.) Crispin’s books was during my Star Trek phase, back when I was about 11 years old. Back then, it was actually possible to collect and keep up with all of the Trek books. I had almost all of them, and I remember Yesterday’s Son standing out as one of my favorites. I snatched up the sequel, Time for Yesterday, a few years later.

The premise was that, during the Star Trek episode All Our Yesterdays, when Spock and McCoy are trapped in Sarpeidon’s ice age, Spock gets his pon farr on with Zarabeth, who becomes pregnant. When Spock discovers he had a son, he uses the Guardian of Forever to go back in time… I loved them.

I discovered Crispin’s Starbridge series next. Starbridge was a story of first contact, one which captured the wonder and danger and excitement of discovering alien life. (I still remember loving “Doctor Blanket.”) The books were YA-friendly, and while there was plenty of conflict, the overall feeling was one of hope and optimism.

Crispin is also part of Writer Beware, an invaluable source of information on writing scams. Along with Victoria Strauss and Richard White, Crispin has devoted herself to helping new writers avoid various pitfalls, and to exposing the scammers. There’s no payment for any of this. Writer Beware is an all-volunteer effort.

Last week, Crispin shared that she’s fighting a nasty and aggressive cancer.

Her post hit me hard. I’ve not met Ann Crispin in person, but she and I have corresponded a bit online, and her books have been a part of my life since I was a child. When I set out to be a writer, her work with Writer Beware was one of the most important resources I found.

Cancer and treatment have taken up a great deal of her time and energy. She notes that her only source of income this year will be from the Starbridge novels.

I loved these books as a teenager, and can happily recommend them. You can find out more on Crispin’s website or go directly to Amazon, B&N, or Ridan Publishing.

ETA: Links removed due to issues with Ridan Publishing.

There’s a quick shoutout to Ann in Libriomancer, because she and her work have been important to me, both as a reader and an author. I’d like to publicly thank her for everything she does, and I encourage you to check out her stuff.

Get well soon, Ann.

Jim C. Hines