6 June 2013

Galaxy's frontiers, by Clark Carrados

Don't be fooled by the cover. In Fronteras de la galaxia (Galaxy's frontiers), not even the main characters get off from Earth in any moment. Further, although aliens do appear and a starship will play a main role in the plot, this work is in fact a thriller wrapped by a science fiction layer. Spanish, of course.

Fronteras de la galaxia is other of the three Bruguera's bolsilibros (pocketbooks) which I own. Written by Luis García Lecha under the pen name Clark Carrados, it's the number 681 in the La conquista del espacio's (The conquest of space's) collection. It's barely ninety pages where published for the first time in september of 1983 and, later, in America through the month of march of 1984. This novel is noticeably better than the one I reviewed the month earlier, being distinguishable the author's skill when threading together a thriller story with some complexity (for it's lenght). About the publishing quality I cannot say more than what I already wrote about La fortaleza flotante, since they're from the same publisher, cost the same and are from the same time period. Cutting to the chase, I'll save that point. Let's go straight for the matter's meat.

THE PLOT: A thriller with quite a brutal ending

"The project of the eminent professor Mirkoff, to travel to Proxima Centaurii in a spaceship able to move one hundred times faster than the speed of light, is banned by the gobernment. Nick Feldon, the journalist who was making a report about the subject, is not willing to allow such scoop to be shattered. He'll look into the reason for the banning and, through his inquiry, he'll find people with their particular motives to oppose against the Mirkoff's plan. Scheming and action join under a mantle of science fiction to offer an ending in which the relentless theory of relativity will be applied with all its fury."

I hope that I've written this summary pulpy enough so it can honor the work I'm reviewing here. The plot is mostly a thriller which, having been developed with more time and —many— more pages, it could had become into a quite interesting novel.

There's an spaceship, a robot and some other samples of advance technology, but all this is nothing more than part of the science fiction scenery used by Carrados to assemble an absolutely detective and adventurous story (with a certain smell of spy fiction, I'd dare to add).

THE OPINION: A well crafted story with no leftovers

One of the aspects I liked from Fronteras de la galaxia is its complete use of all the elements which the author bring into play. There's no cheapness in the narrated events or the elements inserted into the plot, everything has its place and function in order to make the story progress. Furthermore, the writer stops into giving explanations (through the characters) about how some of the gadgets mentioned work.

It's also true that the characters are not fully fleshed out, but it doesn't hinders Carrados to leave a thin coating of ambiguity over them. This is proven in their use of not so legal tactics in their attempt to unmask the bad guys of the narration. This is nothing more than another quality gesture from the author, who achieves that way making this pocketbook into something worth to be read, even, more than once.

I won't lie to you, I don't think this the eighth world's marvel but it's pleasant to read it. It fills its role, to entertain and doing it with charm and in a convincing way. On top of that, this short novel hasn't aged bad completely. The core of the story could serve as base for a film such as Total Recall or alike (the ones which mix science fiction with action and thriller elements), although some beautifying adjusts and some corrections in the story's unfolding would be unavoidable.

THE JUDGEMENT: I liked it, I think I have made that clear

But how much I liked it? A lot? Just enough? Let's go for the score, which is something I know you're waiting with ill-contained anxiety. Let see, I'll evaluate Fronteras de la galaxia with a six points reference. Yes, as it could have been 3'1415. And what I'm going to use as a distinguished scoring object? Since I've mentioned Total Recall, I thought fitting to use Kuato, the famous stomach mutant from the 1990's film. Therefore, I give a full Kuato for the reasonable original story developed in the novel, another for the correct unfolding and the good sense of rhythm, another half for being Clark Carrados the one who signs, and another one because i liked it. I don't give it more because in the ending i felt a bit of deus ex machina used to fully explain the plot. Although it's a not too exaggerated detail, it's quite noticeable. Summing up, 3 Kuatos and a half over 6.


If you want to know more about the 'novelas de a duro' (pulp novels), through the following links you'll be able to find a lot of information (in particular in the Sitio de Ciencia Ficción site) and lists of titles of the diverse collections published in Spain. Of course, all of this content is in spanish.

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