Back in 2015 and thereafter there was a titanic struggle to liberate science fiction and fantasy books from the iron grip of the social justice school of fiction writing that controlled the publishing and awards for writing in these genres. You can read about these things here.
Vox Day has a publishing firm called Castalia House and he has attempted to promote authors who practice old time science fiction and fantasy story writing. Mutiny in Space is published by Castalia House and is the first volume in the author, Rod Walker’s “The Thousand Worlds” series.
In the description on the back cover of the paperback edition Castalia House explicitly states that Mutiny in Space is written in the style of Robert A Heinlein’s series of books for young adults (or juveniles, as they were described in the old days). Now Heinlein wrote some really excellent fiction back in his day. Here’s a link to my thoughts on his writing. In a nutshell if someone were to successfully write science fiction in the style of Heinlein’s juveniles, I would think these stories would be very sought after. So I bought Mutiny in Space intending to see if it lived up to this representation.
I’ll cut to the chase. It does. Now I don’t mean it reads exactly like Heinlein. In fact, far from it. Rod Walker has different characters and different plots and a different voice. There are similarities in the universe that he has built. The way that his interstellar drive works approximates the multi-jump method used by Heinlein in his book “Starman Jones.” And the emphasis on technical skills among his heroes as opposed to the dependence on rhetorical ability among his villains is also reminiscent of Heinlein’s style. And the pairing of a father figure and an orphaned young man is also familiar to Heinlein readers.
The story is the adventure of sixteen-year-old Nikolai Rovio leaving his unhappy life on New Chicago for the promise of a new life as a technician on an interstellar freighter the Rusalka. But the unsettled politics of New Chicago aren’t left behind when he boards his ship and he quickly learns that trouble can find you even after you stop looking for it.
I won’t dig into the plot details. The book is short by today’s standards, about 180 pages. But that is actually very much like the length of Heinlein’s juveniles. It isn’t deathless prose but it is a straight up adventure story very much in the tradition of the older style of science fiction from the nineteen thirties, forties and fifties. I can recommend this book for a young reader or anyone who like the old style of science fiction that I grew up on.