Castaway Planet (Boundary)
by Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Mel Jacob
Baen Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476781341
Date: 26 January 2016 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Swiss Family Robinson in space explores an unknown area of the galaxy when a family plus one alien learn their escape pod is separated from their mother ship and cast into the universe. Worse, the crew consists of two adults, their four daughters, and a teen-age alien who eats a lot and needs a semi-aquatic environment. Running low on supplies, they must find a suitable sun with a habitable planet or they'll die.
The parents are a medical doctor and a biologist. The escape pod's pilot Sakura is only fourteen and has not yet finished her training. Caroline, the navigator, is seventeen and methodical. Melody, ten, pretends boredom, but knows more than she lets on. Hitomi, six, is addicted to Jewelbug adventures on her tablet. Whip, the alien, was an engineer trainee. All their knowledge and skills are needed to survive with no real hope of rescue.
They have arrived in an unknown, unmapped part of the galaxy and have a limited time to find a habitable planet. They search star system after star system looking for a telltale flicker that might signal a planet. At last they find one, but must reach it soon or possibly lose Whip.
Once they reach the planet and do an initial survey, they try to land. At almost the last moment, a gust of wind hits the ship. Luckily, Sakura manages to stop at the edge of the land mass.
Out of the ship, Whip heads quickly for a dip in the ocean. He discovers they totter on the edge of an abyss. Before they are able to unload all their supplies, the pod sinks, taking all their supplies and equipment with it, except for the few things they had unloaded when disembarking.
Now they must finds ways to obtain food and shelter on this strange planet where one wrong step could kill them and predator and poisonous plants threaten them. Even the youngest must grow up quickly and contribute for all to survive.