Archive for November 27th, 2015

A freighter captain and a cop take on a mysterious conspiracy in the debut science fiction novel ‘The Kassa Gambit’

November 27, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 27, 2015

M.C. Planck’s 2012 debut novel, The Kassa Gambit, is an enjoyable piece of science fiction escapism.

The book’s main characters are Prudence Falling, captain and owner of the independent interstellar freighter Ulysses, and Kyle Daspar, a politically connected municipal policeman on the wealthy planet of Altair.

As the story opens, Falling and her three-man crew are on a routine cargo run that goes horribly wrong. They arrive at their destination, a remote, sparsely populated farm world named Kassa, days after an unknown force has bombed every city, town and building into oblivion. What’s more, the marauders seeded nearby space with a set of deadly torpedoes (which the characters refer to as mines — a minor quibble, but there we are).

After Falling’s crew disables the torpedo targeting Ulysses and makes landfall, they find themselves called upon to aid thousands of survivors, a task they barely have the resources to even begin to attempt:

Prudence met the man at the boarding hatch. Standing at the top of the gangway gave her power, rendered him a supplicant at the foot of the throne. A simple trick, but it had worked on more than one dockside petty official.

“Thank Earth you’re here,” the man said.

“Captain Prudence Falling of the Ulysses,” she introduced herself. The formalities were there for a purpose. They gave structure to the negotiations, reminded everyone exactly where they stood. “And you are?”

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