The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Starflight, the wealthiest and most powerful multinational company on Earth, holds a monopoly on space travel and transportation in the future. Although interstellar flight has been possible for a century and Starflight was created with the intent of discovering new planets for colonization, only one planet, Terranova, has been slated for immigration. Afraid of losing money to competition, the company attempts to hold onto its monopoly by preventing the discovery of other worlds. Were additional worlds to be discovered, the cheap land that would become available would cut into the massive profits Starflight derives from immigrants to Terranova, from both transportation costs and land fees. The company’s chief executive officer and president, Elizabeth Lindstrom, uses Starflight as a means of satisfying her desire for power. She is a woman intentionally reminiscent of Elizabeth I, having inherited the company, her status, and “the mind of a man” from her father.

Vance Garamond, the Starflight commander of a discovery ship, incurs Lindstrom’s wrath when her only son, Harald, accidentally dies while entrusted to Garamond’s care. Although Garamond is not responsible for the boy’s death—the child falls from the top of a statue near the palace—he understands that Lindstrom is a vicious woman who is apt to take revenge on him and possibly on his family. Gathering his wife, Aileen, and his own son, Christopher, Garamond hurries to leave Earth on...

(The entire section is 482 words.)