Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch is classic science fiction; a well-told tale of space adventure and dangerous exploration that will keep fans of the genre turning the pages. The time is 5,000 years in the future and the main character, a woman known only as Boss, explores abandoned and drifting space ships and ends up tackling some complex issues.
Boss is a loner, an ethical woman who takes tourists to visit safe wrecks and specializes in salvaging abandoned spacecraft, but her real love is the historical value of the ships. When a blip on her sensors leads her to a derelict ship, she's astounded to discover it's a Dignity Vessel, a five thousand year old Earth-made ship that could not possibly have survived. The ancient ship contains unperfected stealth technology, the same technology that killed her mother when she was a child. It's an enormous find and she's determined to investigate further. Boss recruits a top-notch team of space divers but she doesn't reveal her suspicions about the ship, preferring to hear their unprejudiced opinions. When the team members recognize the vessel, one member is panic-stricken. Squishy spent years in the military trying to recreate the tech on old ships, with disastrous results. She urges Boss to abort and blow up the vessel, but Boss is determined to recover the secrets of the past. The team takes well rehearsed precautions but still two of divers die while exploring. Squishy reports the deaths to the authorities and they declare the wreck off limits. Boss retires but the past still haunts her and she knows that stealth technology in the hands of the military may lead to intergalactic war.
Rusch is the author of the "Retrieval Artist series" and a former editor of "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction." She's also written romance and mystery novels under different names. This book is actually three tales woven together to form an intense story with depth and history. The characters are not as well developed, except for Boss, whose first person narration makes the reader an eyewitness to the vast, silent realms of deep space where even the smallest error in judgment or equipment will bring disaster. It's an eminently readable book with just enough science to make it real and Rusch raises some moral and ethical dilemmas in a thought provoking manner. The story is compellingly human and technically absorbing with suspense that builds to fevered intensity and culminates in a plausible and explosive conclusion.
Publisher: PYR (November 24, 2009)
Paperback: 267 Pages