CAPITAL TIMES 17 September, 2003 page 15.

The truth is out there

Roivan: Book One of
the A'Nzarian
By Glynne McLean
Reviewed by
Paul Lawrence

SCIENCE fiction can be a tricky genre to get right Sometimes it seems an event like Mars' current close approach to Earth gets all sorts of fruit loops Jumping on the bandwagon. (Remember all that Y2K hysteria a few years back?)

But Wellington-based writer Glynne McLean is no fruit loop, and her first published novel is a fast moving, entertaining read which all ages will enjoy.

McLean grew up in a family who told stones instead of watching television, and it shows. Her work may be categorised as teenage sci-fi, but this book is a broader mix, involving inter-species conflict, gradual self-discovery on the main character's part and the need to right historical wrongs, with nods to Lord of The Rings/ Harry Potter-esque fantasy.

It is also interspersed with stunning imagery and word pictures from many exotic locations throughout the universe, McLean's extensive experiences in the travel industry being very much in evidence. Another strength of the book-and again, sci-fi doesn't always manage to pull this off-is that the characters remain genuine and believable, especially Roivan herself and the ship's Constellation Prime (commander) and Chief Engineer.

In the latter two cases, it possibly helps that both have very human-sounding names: Joshua Carter and Ewen Stenway. Carter indeed is human, originally from the south Wairarapa coast no less, and at one point is reminded of his homeland in a southerly-an image that stands out like a crop circle in a cornfield. We've all met people like them, even if we haven't journeyed into deep space aboard any alien motherships recently.

What makes Roivan an even more remarkable achievement is that McLean is dyslexic and only learned to read when she was eight. She has certainly made up for lost time since then.

Handily, there is a map of the galactic borders, and also a glossary of transportation terms. So you, too, will know that a shaval is ''a sentient life-form analo-gous to fire", and a battlehub is "a large, sometimes modular, spacecraft".

Further vital information; time is measured in seconds, minutes, hours etc, but not as we know them.



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