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Fall Girl by Pierce  Askegren
Review by Barry Newton
Ace Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0441012973
Date: 28 June, 2005 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Enola Hasbro is one of these; a model maker for the Combine?s elite engineering firm. Her work and performance are subtly sabotaged until she?s dismissed, due for transfer to Earth. She even starts the medical treatments designed to acclimate her for Earth, but then gets an unheard-of second chance: an offer from another company, in a completely different line of work. In the lunar corporate culture, this is akin to apostasy, but Enola jumps at the chance. Nobody returns voluntarily. Keith and Katarin, video producers, are recruiting her to be a Mesh personality, something analogous to a t.v. news anchor today. A daring jump for an office worker, but one she?s willing to take.

As the second book in a trilogy, Fall Girl takes up smoothly where Human Resource, the first, leaves off. Askegren could have provided more background for new readers, but they are pretty much left to fend for themselves. The story does stand up reasonably well by itself, but readers of the prequel will get a lot more out of it. There?s barely a mention of the discovery of an alien artifact (in the prequel) and the development of a starship to investigate. Odd, because that artifact is one of the central elements of the trilogy. And the backstory on Wendy Scheer?s network and talents are given pretty short shrift here, too, though they do come into play.

Without giving away too many plot points, there is sex, violence, intrigue and murder to be had in this novel, as well as reasonably coherent scientific bases for the environment. The writing is smoother as well, suggesting that the author is settling comfortably into the all-print format after a career writing graphic novels. The mysterious Wendy Scheer makes a brief and crucial appearance here, but is largely on the sidelines for this episode.

Readers of adventurous science fiction will find plenty to enjoy in this story, and will join me in looking forward to part three.

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