Positive Novels

Positive Novels

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hard Luck Hank: Screw the Galaxy

From time to time, I stumble upon a science-fiction novel that hooks me, and Hard Luck Hank: Screw The Galaxy, by Steven Campbell, is one of those novels.

The story that is told is about a community on a space station on the frontier of space in a galaxy populated by what we would call "humans" by looking at them, but who call themselves Colmarians.

The author has setup a website for the novel over at belvaille.com. There is also a movie synopsis/trailer about the novel you can watch (it has some minor spoilers in it).

So, as readers of this blog know, I am always on the lookout for entertainment media that isn't dark and depressing -- and that is exactly what I found in Hard Luck Hank.

The story is kind of a hard one to describe, it takes place in a well-worn sci-fi universe that has that lived-in feel like Star Wars and Mass Effect. The basics of the story are that we follow Hank around as the main/point-of-view character as he walks us through his daily life, as it is happening. Hank is a mutant, as are most of the Colmarians in the galaxy. Hank is a level 4 mutant, though, where most others are barely level 1. Hank's mutation is an insane healing ability, and a huge amount of natural toughness. What that translates into is the ability to take a bullet to the head and not die (it does hurt him, though), walk away from a huge crate being dropped on him, and live through being shot with all manner of cannons, lightning and most other forms of non-tank/battleship fire.

Hank is not a complicated guy. He lives on a space station stranded on the edge of controlled-space that has largely been abandoned. Those who are left are more or less criminals and people with a reason to be hiding away from most of society. He works as more or less an enforcer/negotiator. Because he can't simply be easily killed, when he shows up to mediate between two fighting gangs, they more or less have to listen and find a way to work things out, because if they don't Hank can and will just kill them if they provoke him. A typical day for him is eating a lot, bouncing between the gang bosses on the station, and doing odd jobs for the station's Adjunct Overwatch, (the top military official there, more or less like a Lieutenant-Commander from an Intelligence branch of the Navy) Garm -- who also happens to be running her own businesses on the side.

Hank's world is about to get turned upside down, though. Soon to visit the station (in no particular order) are going to be: insanely powerful (and murderous) androids, a hot blue-skinned woman, insanely powerful mutants, the military, insanely powerful aliens, and a pet many-ton robot from a resident scientist that suddenly gets a puppy complex.

Hard Luck Hank is a good read, it is a lot of fun, it moves along at a good pace, the characters are interesting and believable. Hank is a good guy, and you can understand that he doesn't do anything maliciously, even when he is forced to do something bad. The universe is rich and varied, and the author scatters some interesting nuggets of history into the story that I would love to see him explore in a sequel.

Read it, you'll be glad you did :)