Ghosts in the Void, by Timothy Burns, is an excellent sci-fi/fantasy adventure novel that blends classic science fiction themes with a magical fantasy world, a combination that works quite well in this novel. A few centuries into our future, Mars and the Moon are colonized, and the whole technological regime rests on the properties of a strange outer-space mushroom thet grows on Mars..When a new strain of this mushroom is discovered, the repercussions of this discovery extend far beyond Mars and entangle its discoverer and a handful of other Martian colonists in a deadly adventure that will take them far into the future as they try to figure out how to save their colony from disaster.
I really enjoyed this novel until the last 5th of the book. It is a fun story, well crafted and absorbing, and drawing just enough on establishe sci-fi stories to tie Burns’ novel into the context of the larger sci-fi world. However, this novel feels like it ought to either be longer- much longer- or it needs to be the first book in a series. The resolution fell flat. With just a few pages left in the book, there were so many loose ends and the story had so much potential, and rather than keep up the momentum, Burns just truncated the story, almost as if he ran out of pages or energy to write them.
My other complaint with this book, that keeps it from being a 5-star novel, is that the male and female characters are all so stereotypical. Burns does state that the primary male main character is divorced because he was too domineering and outright abusive of his wife, but then he downplays this abuse as just insecurity as the book progresses. This character detail seemed underdeveloped, and left the novel feeling unfinished. As a stand-alone book, this book needed to be another 100 pages longer, which would still have left it as a normal-length novel within the sci-fi genre. As is, hopefully Burns has the sequel mapped out, because this book needs one.
I received my copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair review.