Review: Rayessa and the Space Pirates, by Donna Maree Hanson


(Harlequin Escape, 2013: ISBN 9780857990150)

(review first published in ASIM 57,  April 2013)

IDonna Maree Hanson’s previous accomplishments include adventures in the worlds of small-press publishing and editing; she’s also the author of a good many short stories that have seen publication over the past few years. Rayessa and the Space Pirates, aimed squarely at the YA market, is her first published novella.

Rae is a sixteen-year-old orphan who shares the largely-derelict refuelling station, Outpost 311, with the mind-damaged Gris. Her day-to-day existence is a struggle with faulty equipment, incontinent recycling systems, and the various dangers that come with trying to eke an existence out of an under-resourced base contained within a hollowed-out asteroid. It’s not surprising that Rae compensates for the tedium by identifying with her screen idol, Del Divlan, the star of ‘A Slave’s Lament’. It’s also not surprising that, when her own life suddenly loses all its tedious aspects, it does so in a way that doesn’t mesh with Rae’s vidmovie-fuelled expectations. The trouble starts with the arrival at Outpost 311 of a well-heeled auditor, Alwin Anton, come to check why so many clandestine transactions have been made from the base …

Rayessa is a fast-paced and light-hearted space adventure yarn that plays comfortably with the tropes of classic pulp SF, filtered through a modern-day perspective. It doesn’t place too many demands on the reader, nor does it ask to be taken too seriously. That said, the characterisation is effective, there are some nice flashes of humour, and the story retains the reader’s interest. It’s a good quick read, and quite a lot of fun.

(Reviewed by Simon Petrie, 2013)


One response

4 06 2013
You may be labouring … | Simon Petrie

[…] issue of ASIM, onto my book-review page: Phillip Mann’s The Disestablishment of Paradise and Donna Maree Hanson’s Rayessa and the Space […]

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