|I've always enjoyed Larry Niven's collaborations, so when I came across Building Harlequin's Moon with Brenda Cooper I was thrilled. A very enjoyable novel that balances the line between hard science fiction and social-centered SF, it's the story of a lost starship and the various communities that have to work together to get the ship and its occupants to its original destination.
The John Glenn is a colony starship (where the colonists are cryogenically frozen) from Earth's Solar System destined for the planet Ymir, which they will terraform with the help of two other starships that were to leave after them. Due to a flaw in the ship's navigation systems, the John Glenn arrives in the Harlequin System without enough anti-matter to make it to Ymir. The colonists must create a single stable moon from the many that orbit Harlequin in order to create a workforce to build a particle acclerator to produce more anti-matter which will enable the John Glenn to proceed to Ymir.
It's this workforce--which was bred from the ship's colonists, sometimes unwillingly--that comes into direct conflict with the leaders of the John Glenn. The story of how Rachel, a third-generation Selenite (for the moon being built is named Selene), rises to a position of prominence among both the colonists and the Selenites brings the various conflicts into focus.
Building Harlequin's Moon is a very good book that explores the ethical dilemma of how far societies should go in achieving their ends. While the novel's ending is a little too predicable (although it foreshadows a possible sequel), it's still a book that most SF fans will like.|