Short Take: “The Runabout,” Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Pros: Fascinating novella
Cons:
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s The Runabout: A Diving Novel (Diving Series) (Volume 6) is novella or short novel (not sure which it technically fits) in which a group of people from the Lost Souls Corporation go diving for not-too-broken wrecks of spaceships in the Boneyard. One of the folks in charge is from the Ivoire, the ship that came forward in time 5,000 years and still hopes to find the Fleet it came from. The team tries to salvage another vessel, only to encounter the field of a seriously malfunctioning anacapa drive. Even though the divers have the genetic marker that protects them from malfunctioning anacapa drives, safety is hardly guaranteed. They need to figure out where the mysterious readings are coming from, then figure out what to do about them, without losing their lives.

The story is fairly short and straightforward, so I find I don’t have a lot to talk about. The characters and their interactions are interesting. I have only read a couple of bits of Rusch’s Diving universe, not the whole series, and yet I found I could follow along well. Obviously it would still be best if you read the books in order.

The events get quite tense, with plenty at stake. I definitely felt invested in the story and wanted to know what would happen next. Rusch is an excellent writer, and I have yet to be disappointed with anything of hers that I’ve read. The worldbuilding, in particular, is quite detailed and clever.

All in all, this book makes me want to go back and read the rest of the series in order!

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