Another British writer who likes to base his world-spanning entertainments on sound political speculations is Ben Jeapes. Phoenicia’s Worlds (Solaris, £7.99) is his most ambitious novel so far.
Earth’s only colony outside the solar system, La Nueva Temporada, is far from self-supporting. On a planet that’s going through an ice age, it’s survival depends on supplies from Earth.
When the artificial wormhole which links the two worlds suddenly stops working, there’s only one way to re-open it – by sending a spaceship on the decades-long journey home.
But during those decades, what will happen to the social structures of an isolated, desperate colony? And how sympathetic will the mother planet be to its plight?
This is space opera at its most enjoyable and accessible.
– Reviewed by Mat Coward