Author: Steven M. Moore

Publisher: Carrick Publishing
ISBN: 978-1772420364


Looking at the “Cast of Characters” at the beginning of Rogue Planet, I expected a multi-generational sci-fi epic bridging across a galaxy of planets.

What followed wasn’t anything quite that complex. True, Moore’s fictional galaxy is watched over by the ITUIP (Interstellar Trade Union of Independent Planets) which follows a sort of Prime Directive, that is they have a non-interference policy regarding worlds that are suffering from human conflicts. In this case, the First Tribe of planet Paradise is facing a natural disaster but are offered assistance by the Second Tribe of planet Eden who allow their neighbors to come and establish a colony on their world. Instead of showing gratitude, the theocratic First Tribe conquers and enslaves their benefactors.

After this set-up, Rogue Planet becomes the story of the messianic Kaushal, who is the prince of the Second Tribe. He enters the story as a kitchen slave, becomes an entertainer at court, and then escapes to join rebellious Second Tribe members out in the hinterlands.

Much of the tale then follows Kaushal’s training as a warrior and leader before he leaves the planet to seek aid from the aloof Trade Union which doesn’t seem inclined to get involved with Eden’s turmoils. After that, well, Kaushal has work at home to begin.

No one would classify Rogue Planet as “hard science fiction,” but that’s not a criticism. Not all adventures set on strange new worlds need be based on credible technological possibilities. Instead, Kaushal’s main advantage is his knowledge of secret passageways inside palace walls. The symbol of power is a Golden Scimitar that’s more decorative than useful. I’m still trying to figure out how the Second Tribe, a civilization capable of creating a fleet of spaceships large enough to transport thousands of settlers, could fall victim to a less advanced adversary. Where did that fleet disappear to? Where were all the bases and institutions that must have built that fleet? Everything technological just vanished as a First Tribe high priest and a puppet monarchy rule Eden like feudal lords.

But Rogue Planet isn’t the sort of story you’d want to scratch too deeply for meaning or message. Rather, it’s almost a classic tale of how a reluctant hero evolves from being a slave to an exile in the wilderness to an ambassador in space to, well, that would be telling.

Reportedly, Rogue Planet is set in the same universe as Moore’s Chaos Chronicles Trilogy and the Dr. Carlos stories. If these books are anything like Rogue Planet, then readers already have an entertaining vein of sci-fi journeys available for your exploration. If these books share what’s in Rogue Planet, then readers can have a lot of fun in fast-paced, character-driven romps with dashes of sex and violence tossed into the mix.