The Getaway Special by Jerry Oltion

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In the tradition of Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos, Jerry Oltion, a rising star of science fiction and a Nebula Award-winning author, returns with a novel of intergalactic travel, a mad scientist, and otherworldly allies.

Allen Meisner is a member of INSANE, the International Network of Scientists Against Nuclear Extermination. A card-carrying mad scientist, he develops a hyperdrive engine capable of taking anyone to the stars for just a few dollars. But after a demonstration aboard a space ship goes awry, Allen learns that there's no such thing as a free ride.

Allen's ideas do not have quite the effect he desires. While the ability to travel great distances excites some, it terrifies others. Earth is in chaos as governments prepare for war to control this unleashed power. With everyone waiting for the bomb-now propelled by hyperdrive-to fall, Allen and his shuttle pilot, Judy Gallagher, look for a way to save humanity.

With electronic parts from Radio Shack and a plastic septic tank from a lumberyard, they build their own spacecraft and go in search of habitable planets. Armed with new allies, an intelligent butterfly, and a temperamental tree, they return to Earth for a final showdown between fear and freedom.

About Jerry Oltion

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Jerry Oltion has been a gardener, stone mason, carpenter, oilfield worker, forester, land surveyor, rock 'n' roll deejay, printer, proofreader, editor, publisher, computer consultant, movie extra, corporate secretary, and garbage truck driver. He is also the author of over 100 published short stories and over a dozen novels, including the Tor books Abandon in Place, The Getaway Special, and Anywhere But Here. His work has won the Nebula Award and has been nominated for the Hugo award. Born and raised in Wyoming, he now lives in Eugene, Oregon, with his wife, Kathy, and the obligatory writer's cat, Ginger.
Published December 20, 2001 by Tor Books. 400 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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The novel's headlong pace calls to mind Doc Smith's breezy 1928 space opera, The Skylark of Space, and it's startling that after all this time people still are timidly waiting for personal, unrestricted space travel.

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SF Site

Although The Getaway Special features Alan Meisner, a scientist who also appeared in Oltion's novel Abandon in Place, the two novels are not set in the same universe as each other.

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