Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Jump Gate Twist Jump Gate Twist
by Mark L. Van Name
Baen Books

Supplied for review by
Science Fiction Outreach Project at LoneStarCon 3

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

I’ll begin by explaining that Jump Gate Twist is a compilation of One Jump Ahead and Slanted Jack, the first two Jon and Lobo novels with additional short stories and other material, taking the whole to a hefty 723 pages.

I soon realised that I had previously read both novels – and enjoyed them. The stars of these stories are Jon… who has his secrets, his unique powers and unusual origin; and his best friend, a predator class assault vehicle named Lobo, what amounts to an intelligent flying tank. Among Jon’s abilities is machine telepathy, which leads to a lot of fun, especially when it involves washing machine gossip.

Let’s face it, this is science fiction action humour, and that’s a tricky combination to get right. Most of the time, authors try it and the result is plain silly. But the stories of Jon and Lobo, while frequently infested with a fine frivolity, are by no means foolish. The science fiction still works, the plotting is complex (in both senses), and the characters are interesting. Sure Jon is a bit of a prat at times, but that’s not unusual in action heroes. This really is science fiction the way they don’t make it any more. Which is a pity. Read and enjoy.

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