Mutiny in Space
by Rod Walker
Published by Castalia House (2016)
Mutiny in Space offers the reader a fun sci-fi read for a good price.
Mutiny in Space is a sci-fi novel written with an emphasis on realism and simplicity; there are no space aliens or magical forces, and there are no complex, interlocking plotlines to keep track of. In spite of that, it is a satisfying book.
The story follows Nikolai Rovio, a young man born to a family of revolutionaries sympathetic to the Social Party, a Marxist movement seeking to spread communism throughout the galaxy (though the word “communism” is never used in the book.) Nikolai rejected his family’s ideals since pursuing revolution got all of them killed, and he is glad to take up a job hauling cargo with his uncle, who had also rejected the Social Party’s doctrines. However, the Rovio family’s blood-soaked heritage has a long reach, and it is up to Nikolai to escape it alive.
The book begins strong, with Nikolai recounting his family’s history in an engaging manner; while an infodump, it held my attention throughout since it told a story instead of reciting a dry list of events. This part of the story does go into politics, though, and left-wing readers may find it a bit grating; I get the sense that it was intended to offend the Left. However, most of this stops beyond the second chapter.
The third chapter, however, drags a bit. Though it introduces the reader to Nikolai’s ship, it lacks the punch of the beginning, getting too deep in the details of the technology rather than establishing the crew as characters. But by the end of the chapter, the pace picks up again and the story finds its touch once more without stopping.
As for the characters, only Nikolai and his uncle have any depth to them, but this is okay. Shorter works such as this do not need padding, and Chapter 3 showed the dangers of doing so. It also made it a point to show that Nikolai did not angst about his feelings or even get very emotional about what the villain did to him in the past; this alone lent freshness to the story.
A more pressing flaw, though, is the copyediting. There are several typos throughout the book, and while they don’t make the book an unreadable mess, they are frequent enough to be annoying. Still, the writing is readable and easy to follow, and the book is formatted just fine.
All in all, I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a quick read of sci-fi grounded in realism. You can purchase the book at Amazon.