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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
Plato Crater by Carleton Chinner is an elegant science fiction tale set on our moon. After a bitter war, supplies of Helium 3, a chemical vital to the earth’s power industry, have been cut off by the newly independent lunar colony. Planet Earth is in darkness and the situation is rapidly deteriorating with food riots and civil unrest becoming common across the globe. Jonah Barnes has been delegated by Yesha, the new Empress of the Moon, to negotiate a trade deal with the Pan American Union to re-commence supplies of the precious resource. The Jingnan Council, however, want a return to the status quo, to regain control of a trade they had previously dominated, while the European Union is in the process of setting up their own mining facility in the moon’s Plato Crater to ensure a continued supply for their group of nations.
Plato Crater is well thought out, classic science fiction bursting with imaginative technologies and innovative concepts. I was not aware when starting the novel that it was the second in a series, but the book stands well on its own and it is not necessary to read the previous volume to enjoy it. The political and military machinations are described from several points of view, including Holly, an Australian back-packer who finds herself embroiled in the staggering events. Fast paced and crammed with original ideas, the narrative works its way through the complex web of personal, political and national interests to a mind-blowing conclusion. Well written and carefully plotted, the story line is peopled with solid, though sometimes troubled characters. I will be looking up the first volume in the series and hope to see more sterling work from Mr Chinner in the future. Highly recommended; sci-fi fans in particular will not be disappointed. A worthy addition to the genre.