Winter Books
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Issue Date:  February 8, 2008

By Gary K. Wolf and Archbishop John J. Myers
Tor Books, published by Tom Doherty Associates, 333 pages, $24.95
Bishop's novel reprises classic sci-fi themes

Reviewed by DENNIS CODAY

Gary K. Wolf, [creator of the Hugo and Academy Award winning Roger Rabbit], and John Myers, the Catholic archbishop of Newark, N.J., were childhood friends in Earlville, Ill. In seventh grade, they discovered the 1951 adventure saga Space Hawk, and the world of science fiction was opened to them. Wolf became an award-winning sci-fi writer, John Myers an archbishop. They stayed in touch, sharing their continuing love of science fiction.

For years, they discussed writing a book together that would recreate what they remembered as the best of Space Hawk. Space Vulture is the result of those efforts, and it fits well with the types of stories, novels and comics published during what some call the “golden age of science fiction.” With its humanoid zombies, fantastic technologies and undaunted heroes rushing headlong to save the galaxy, Space Vulture could have been serialized in such sci-fi magazines of the 1950s as Fantastic Adventures, Planet Stories, Beyond or Incredible Science Fiction.

But don’t take my word for it. I had my seventh-grade son look at Space Vulture. He read it with relish. From the next room, I would hear him chuckle and exclaim “Awesome!” Later, he would read me passages that he particularly liked, usually something about spaceships with hyper drives or rays that could put a planet’s entire population to sleep. I don’t think you can get a better endorsement than that.

However, while my son is eagerly recommending the book to his friends who also like space and fantasy adventures, I found the cartoonish aspects of this space saga tiresome after a few dozen pages. It’s probably fair to say that Space Vulture’s audience is seventh graders or adults nostalgic for science fiction’s golden age.

National Catholic Reporter, February 8, 2008   [corrected 03/07/2008]

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