This is a very strong story. My largest piece of evidence? I enjoyed it even though there is so much to despise! First things first, this book is dedicated to Robert Heinlein. What was I saying about influences, paying respect, and stealing? This book veers into out-and-out brown-nosing (As an example, “Heinlein never received any royalties for his fabulous ideas.”) and libertarian rants. Second thing, there is a list of characters in the very beginning – which is needed because it is damn hard to tell them all apart after a while. Third thing, this story features Heinlein’s Competent Men – gobs of them – as well as Heinlein’s Incompetent Women. As far as I can tell, the women only exist to betray the men, provide partners for lots of sex and drinking parties, and to be rescued.
Thoughtful, but break-neck plotting and huge ideas makes this a page-turner. It reminds me well of Chip Delaney’s exhortation to “Make your image the ornament on your page.” This book is proof how powerful that advice is and how beautifully it works.