"Coyote" Allen Steele

Posted on Thu 25 December 2008 in ClubReading

Coyote is an epic novel of space travel and migration to the stars told in three parts.

In part one, the government has twisted and grown more powerful. Radicals or Dissident Intellectuals (DI's) are closely monitored and often sent to rehabilitation camps with the families. DI's are no longer allowed to participate in scientific research or space exploration.

The government hatches a plan to send a space ship on a one way journey to colonize a distant planet. The goal is to prove the might of the government. The excessive cost of the project throws the country into dire financial trouble.

At the last minute and with much slight-of-hand, a group of DI's replace the majority of the ships crew and compliment with their own people. And the journey begins.

In part two, the entire ships crew is in hibernation sleep. The ships computer has complete control of operations and will revive the crew upon arrival at their destination 230 years after departure.

But three months into the journey a crew member is inadvertently brought out of hibernation sleep. Leslie Gillis the ships navigation officer is awake on the ship by mistake only three months into the journey. The ships computer has specific orders and can not put Mr. Gillis back into hibernation sleep. So he learns how to live on his own. Fortunately the ship is stocked with food and water for when the colonists reach their destination.

Mr. Gillis eventually learns to cope with the loss and the loneliness. On two separate occasions, he is startled by what looks like another ship out in the star field. He desperately tries to make contact, but is unable to. To pass the time, he starts a journal which quickly turns into a novel.

In part three, the ship arrives at its destination and the crew is brought out of hibernation sleep. The fact that Mr. Gillis was brought out early is discovered as well as his paintings and writing. He also left a message for the captain about a traitor.

The colonists are relieved to find that the planet they are heading to, called Coyote, will support human life. The 230 year gamble based on scientific observation has paid off.

A colony is setup on the planet and they begin their life adapting to the new surroundings.

This is a well written story with engaging and believable characters. I highly recommend this book.