Triton-Bound On A Year Long Voyage. @barbtaub from #RBRT Reviews #Scifi Inside Out by @ThorneMoore #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review comes from Barb. She blogs here https://barbtaub.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Barb has been reading Inside Out by Thorne Moore

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I can make this a very short review by saying you really should just go buy Inside Out. You’ll thank me.

Still reading? Okay, here goes.

What do a zombie apocalypse, a western, a dystopian epic, and a spaceship have in common? I think it’s that they’re usually stories of the triumph of regular people. The people who go from delivering pizzas, staffing civil service jobs, driving buses—any of the not-famous, not-rich, not successful people who blend into the background. Then something happens: a virus wipes out the wealthy/beautiful/powerful, leaving the normal ones to band together for survival. Or zombies get really into eating brains until the bus driver and pizza guy pick up an axe and a torch. Or the bad guys are rustling their cattle and disrespecting their daughters, so the farmers pick up their rifles and defend their town from people with bad haircuts and excess facial hair.

Or even better: they hop on a spaceship and head for the final frontier where the Future is as full of boundless possibilities as space itself (unless it’s one of those stories where aliens come ripping out of their chests, which I’m happy to report this isn’t).  Inside Out tells the story of the spaceship Heloise and of seven ordinary passengers on a year long voyage. At first it’s a glittery space cruise with a suave and genial captain. As passengers gamble, drink, and generally manage to ignore the fact that they’re sailing through space, the seven grudgingly share the only thing they have in common: their contracted agreement to spend the next seven years on Triton doing whatever they’re told to do. If all goes as planned, they’ll come home with wealth and security. If they make it that far.

Midway through the cruise, everything changes. The tourists depart at the edge of ‘civilized’ space, the glittery trappings are discarded, and the Heloise is refitted to face the realities of the frontier. Shocked, the seven try various ways to change their agreed fate and avoid their delivery to Triton as cargo. It is, of course, far too late for that.

Captain and crew shed their smart uniforms to reveal blade-sharp warriors with their own agenda. And the seven change too, or more accurately—discover or reveal their true selves. They have half a year of travel, and only that much time to make themselves indispensable to the brutal reality of life on Triton.

There are wonderful subplots and rifs on old memes (including the captain who has just explained the cold hard facts of space life to his hapless cargo but ends by telling them to “live long and prosper”). There are many and obvious references to medieval lovers Abelard and Héloïse, two of the most brilliant 12th-century scholars of their day whose romance suffered a setback when her family had him castrated. (No, this isn’t a spoiler for a literal plot point, so you can all just uncross those legs.)

But what I loved most about this book has almost nothing to do with its genre or tropes. You could close your eyes and the story would work well in anything from the Old West to Interbellum. Because what’s really going on is the subtle realization that the Triton-bound passengers are on a journey to become exactly who they’re meant to be—with the help of the Heloise’s Pygmalion-like captain, of course. And all the while, we see tiny reveals, get hints, and finally realize what his goals are as well. Or as Smith suggests, “Ask him what happened to Heloise.”

I can’t end without an awestruck bow to the world-building AFTERWARD, which shows up…well, afterward. And yes, I know I said this plot could be set almost any place and time. But that’s not good enough for author Thorne Moore, who has a fantastically elaborate world spelling out the stakes, the players, and the epic scale of the stage. Hopefully, it’s a sign of more to come in the wonderful character-driven world she’s created.

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Triton station, Outer Circles headquarters of Ragnox Inc, on the moon of Neptune, is as far as the intrepid can go. It’s a place to make money, lots of money, and for seven lucky travellers, bound for Triton on the ISF Heloise, that’s exactly what they intend to do.
Maggy Jole wants to belong. Peter Selden wants to escape. Abigail Dieterman wants to be free. Merrit Burnand wants to start again. Christie Steen wants to forget. No one knows what David Rabiotti wants. And Smith, well, Smith wants everything.
Does it really matter what they want? The journey to Triton will take them eleven months – eleven months to contemplate the future, come to terms with the small print of their contracts, and wish they’d never signed. But changing their minds is not an option.
Sometimes it really is better to travel… than arrive.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Scifi Inside Out by @ThorneMoore

Today’s team review is from Alex.

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Alex has been reading Inside Out by Thorne Moore

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I bought my own copy of Inside Out for my review on behalf of Rosie Amber’s review team.  The following is my own, honest opinion.

There are some authors that you can trust not to disappoint and Thorne Moore is one such author.

Although Inside Out is set in the distant future and therefore officially classified as Science Fiction, the power and strength associated with the author’s skill in her earlier books, set in the past and present, is undiminished. 

The characters’ very human strengths and weaknesses, increasingly exposed during their long voyage in the claustrophobic setting of the ISF Heloise, are brought to vivid life. Thorne Moore’s ability to make you see things from different perspectives is masterful and often poignant.

The seven travellers who have signed up for the eleven-month journey to Triton in the expectation of becoming unimaginably wealthy, eventually show their true colours as they face dangers from both outside their spacecraft and within. Gradually their adopted personas are stripped away until we see them for the people they really are.

The plot is tight and expertly constructed to provide some delicious surprises that I didn’t see coming. There’s hardship, excitement, danger, a touch of romance, and there’s tragedy. There’s also a rich seam of a witty, wicked and dry sense of humour that had me smiling for much of the book and twice made me laugh out loud–very few books have succeeded in doing that!

Whatever your chosen genre, if you like well-drawn characters, superb descriptive writing, a gripping plot and sparkling humour, this is a book for you.

5 stars

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Triton station, Outer Circles headquarters of Ragnox Inc, on the moon of Neptune, is as far as the intrepid can go. It’s a place to make money, lots of money, and for seven lucky travellers, bound for Triton on the ISF Heloise, that’s exactly what they intend to do.
Maggy Jole wants to belong. Peter Selden wants to escape. Abigail Dieterman wants to be free. Merrit Burnand wants to start again. Christie Steen wants to forget. No one knows what David Rabiotti wants. And Smith, well, Smith wants everything.
Does it really matter what they want? The journey to Triton will take them eleven months – eleven months to contemplate the future, come to terms with the small print of their contracts, and wish they’d never signed. But changing their minds is not an option.
Sometimes it really is better to travel… than arrive. 

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Scifi Inside Out by @ThorneMoore

Today’s team review is from Judith. She blogs here https://judithbarrowblog.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Judith has been reading Inside Out by Thorne Moore

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For many years I have admired Thorne Moore’s work. She has written in various genres but, threaded through all, there is always a psychological mystery: a need to know why her characters have acted in a certain way, what were the circumstances that “upset the applecart”, as I like to think of it. The mystery may have parallel themes of crime, or the introduction of historical or contemporary, events, or the exploration of relationships, but there is always the psychological ‘why’ lurking. I think this is one reason I have always been gripped by her stories and the intricate ways they move along.

And this smooth progression of the plot is often reinforced by the background of the novel, whether it’s of the countryside and life at a certain era, an old house that’s been lived in by generation, or myths and legends. And, as an added extra, to give atmosphere and emotion to these settings, there are always short evocative descriptions of the weather to reflect the mood of the scene. Wonderful!

So, I have to admit, I was surprised and not a little perturbed to hear she has delved into writing Science Fiction. After all, one of this author’s greatest qualities is her innate ability to bring setting to life, by just a line or two of description that instantly evokes a sense of place and an immediacy to the background that her characters move around in.

I mean, a spaceship in Outer Space! No weather, no interesting ‘moving around settings’ for the characters, no historic background, no real characters (Maybe ET-Type aliens?).

Yes, yes, I know; I have little knowledge of the Sci-Fi genre. Which I was to learn. Very quickly.

It is at this point I always say that I don’t give away spoilers.

But what I will say is that Inside Out is not just science fiction, it is a story that includes all that I admire of Thorne Moore’s writing..

There is mystery and intrigue. Excellent individual dialogue from the brilliantly rounded main characters, all with their own back stories and reasons for being on what initially seems to be a luxurious cruise liner for rich, middle-class passengers. (I say “luxurious” but there is a ‘wait and see’ moment – and that’s all I will say about that). Together, with a cast of minor characters as foil to the main ones, there is crime, danger, adventure, humour, and even a little romance. And … there are brilliant settings: of the layers and decks of the ship, of the various planets that the ISF Heloise docks at, and of a chilling description of outer space. And, then, ultimately, we land on Triton, the destination of the group of main characters, where we are made aware of the truth of life with Ragnox Inc.

Just here, I was very tempted to write, Dum De Dum Dum Dah here, but I won’t.

All I will say, is that Inside Out is a novel I thoroughly enjoyed and one I would recommend to any readers who enjoys character-led stories – whatever the genre.

Desc 1

Triton station, Outer Circles headquarters of Ragnox Inc, on the moon of Neptune, is as far as the intrepid can go. It’s a place to make money, lots of money, and for seven lucky travellers, bound for Triton on the ISF Heloise, that’s exactly what they intend to do.
Maggy Jole wants to belong. Peter Selden wants to escape. Abigail Dieterman wants to be free. Merrit Burnand wants to start again. Christie Steen wants to forget. No one knows what David Rabiotti wants. And Smith, well, Smith wants everything.
Does it really matter what they want? The journey to Triton will take them eleven months – eleven months to contemplate the future, come to terms with the small print of their contracts, and wish they’d never signed. But changing their minds is not an option.
Sometimes it really is better to travel… than arrive.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Scifi THE RINGS OF MARS by Rachel Foucar

Today’s team review is from Terry. She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Rings Of Mars by Rachel Foucar

About a 500-strong crew on a year-long mission to Mars, to establish a society that will, it is hoped, be part of the solution for all the troubles on earth.  But there appears to be a saboteur on board ship…


I liked the premise very much, and Ms Foucar has a most readable, flowing writing style.  I was drawn in quickly; the beginning, with Jane Parker leaving a dying country, held great promise, and there is an excellent part early on in which a maintenance crew member gets killed.  Around a third of the way through, though, my interest began to lapse.  There are a lot of main and secondary characters, all with unmemorable names like Pat, Pamela, Jane, Mark, Frank, Beth, Sam, which wouldn’t have mattered so much if the POV didn’t change so often, and most of them didn’t talk in the same way.  It was okay at first, and I had a clear picture of Jane, Mark and Pat, but after that it all got a bit hazy.  Having said that, most of the dialogue is basically good; natural, convincing.  

I wasn’t sure how old they were all supposed to be, but they gave the impression of being in their early twenties, and sometimes seemed more like students running around a campus than people especially selected to go on this important voyage; I didn’t have a sense of them being on a ground-breaking mission into space.


For a scifi thriller, there was a lot of talking but not very much tension or drama.  I also felt that the plot itself wasn’t very clear, as if there hadn’t been enough thinking through – having said that, it didn’t help that the mobi copy I was sent for review was badly formatted – on (literally) every other page there was a gap in the narrative, sometimes breaking a sentence in two, with the title and the words ‘ARC Not for Sale’.  Obviously I would not mark down the book itself for this, and I tried not to notice and just read the story, but it became off-putting, and made me lose concentration.  Also, early on, there were a few punctuation errors – simple ones, like apostrophes in plurals.  


This is a first novel – the author definitely has talent, and this story is a great idea.  I would suggest a) working with a good editor to pull it into shape, b) instructing her publisher to make decent review copies before she sends out any more! and c) having a re-think about some of the character names – perhaps make some of them more unusual, and more 21st century.  To sum up – it’s good, and has the potential to be very good, but it felt a bit 3rd-draft-ish, and needs more work to make it publication-ready, in my opinion.

Book description

For most people, colonising Mars is the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance for adventure. But for Jane, it’s a chance to escape her old life.

As the Earth grows more inhospitable, humanity’s best hope for survival is to start again on Mars. Jane Parker was lucky enough to be chosen from millions of applicants to join the first ship of colonisers. But before the crew of the Sleipnir can begin taming the red waste, they have to survive the voyage over. And there are those who would rather they didn’t reach their destination.

Trapped on a ship with a deadly saboteur, Jane will be forced to use her unique skills to keep the crew of the Sleipnir and her new friends safe. But will Jane be able to get the ship to its destination and keep her past a secret?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Scifi The Rings Of Mars by @RachelFoucar

Today’s team review is from Noelle. She blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading The Rings Of Mars by Rachel Foucar

The Rings of Mars was a pleasant surprise. I do love science fiction (having been groomed to it at my father’s knee) but I all too frequently find modern science fiction lacking the elements of a good read. The Rings of Mars is a good read, even if I disagree with some of the science – or the lack thereof.

The story opens with Jane Parker standing in line, one of five hundred people selected from millions who applied, to board a shuttle to take them to a ship, the Sleipnir, that will carry them to Mars. It seems she doesn’t know why she was selected, and this was a one-way trip for everyone. Although not clearly stated at first, the colonization of Mars is necessary because, according to the group funding it, Earth has become too polluted to sustain life much longer.

During the shuttle trip and her arrival on the Sleipnir, the reader is introduced in separate chapters to the people who will become her friends: Danni, a native American; Pat and Kaitlin, two bona fide astronauts; and Mark. And then Jack, whose alias is Alex, clearly being sent to sabotage the trip.

The ship is huge with a cylindrical center portion around which three rings rotate, creating gravity for the passengers who will live and work there. The description of the ship was interesting, along with the segregation of the passengers into various departments for their work assignments (agriculture, cleaning, cooking, etc).  Food and its supply, entertainment and diversions for the passengers, and the living quarters were nicely described, along with the weightless environment that some would work in.

Tension begins with the explosion and destruction of the space station from which the Sleipnir has just departed and the decision whether to continue on or abort the mission.

The middle of the book slows a bit as Alex inserts himself into the life of the crew with a bent for destruction, but speeds up as Jane reveals herself to be an agent sent on the trip to stop him and whatever he’s planned. Why must the Sleipnir be sabotaged? Will Jane be able to stop Alex or will the ship and its passengers be destroyed?

Some of the characters are drawn well and can be visualized, others are a little fuzzy. Jane is clearly a badass, and that role she fills to perfection. I love that there is a strong female protagonist, especially since many of the other women characters are weak and/or not very perceptive. A few characters die unexpectedly and shockingly and there are plenty of plot twists and turns created to amp the tension. In addition, the descriptions of the ship and the limitations it exerts on the lives of the passengers, along with the drudgery of the day to day work, are compelling.

I wish there had been more discussion amongst the characters as to why they decided to leave Earth forever. There would have been a richness added to them through those conversations. There is really no mystery to Jane’s pursuit of Alex, since it is clear why he is there, only her growing irritation of not being able to catch him in his various acts of sabotage. And I must admit total frustration with the captain of Sleipnir, who seems unaccountably unwilling to accept that a saboteur is on board.

There were a few other minor things that itched due to my interest in space travel. For example, the ship had windows, and I wondered how those, along with the ship’s construction would protect the travelers from cosmic rays and solar activity during the trip.

The Rings of Mars was an enjoyable read and should attract the attention of science fiction fans, especially those who like a strong female in the lead and good tension.

All in all, the author has done a very creditable job for her first novel.  She has a real future as a writer and I hope to read more from her.

Book description

For most people, colonising Mars is the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance for adventure. But for Jane, it’s a chance to escape her old life.

As the Earth grows more inhospitable, humanity’s best hope for survival is to start again on Mars. Jane Parker was lucky enough to be chosen from millions of applicants to join the first ship of colonisers. But before the crew of the Sleipnir can begin taming the red waste, they have to survive the voyage over. And there are those who would rather they didn’t reach their destination.

Trapped on a ship with a deadly saboteur, Jane will be forced to use her unique skills to keep the crew of the Sleipnir and her new friends safe. But will Jane be able to get the ship to its destination and keep her past a secret?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS