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The Stars Blue Yonder    by Sandra McDonald order for
Stars Blue Yonder
by Sandra McDonald
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Stars Blue Yonder is the third (following The Outback Stars and The Stars Down Under) in former naval officer Sandra McDonald's series that mixes military SF and Australian aboriginal mythology.

In The Outback Stars, Lieutenant Jodenny Scott signed on aboard the freighter Aral Sea, where she was dismayed to find her ex-lover, Commander Sam Osherman, and befriended Sergeant Terry Myell (who dreamed of the Outback and the Dreamtime). After Terry and Jodenny activated the alien Wondjina Transportation System, all three ended up traveling instantaneously between worlds.

In The Stars Down Under, Terry was forced by Fleet representatives to activate the alien transportation device and to join a mission searching worlds for missing scientists - leaving his wife on the planet Fortune. Jodenny was dispatched back to Earth at the same time as the Roon invaded, and was joined there by Terry, via the Wondjina hub. He sacrificed himself at a sacred Aboriginal site to save mankind, while a pregnant Jodenny, Sam (traumatized by the Roon), and others were sent by the god Jungali to the Earth-like planet Providence at the other side of the galaxy.

In The Stars Blue Yonder, Terry is flung willy-nilly through time via a blue ring, doomed to encounter Jodenny again and again at all stages of her life, but to have his brief visits erased from everyone's memories each time he is forced to depart once more. When it begins, a voice tells him to go to Kultana and 'Save the human race.' Many of these time shifts take him to Providence whose colonists survive in primitive conditions. In one timeline, Jodenny eventually married Sam and had grandchildren from both Terry and her new husband.

Terry is not always alone on his travels to different time eddies. He receives advice from a descendant named Homer, and is threatened by a Roon, the Flying Doctor. But after one visit to Providence, Terry accidentally discovers that he can bring people with him - initially his grandchildren, but eventually a young, pregnant Jodenny and Sam Osherman. Unfortunately, Jodenny and Sam end up in 1855 Sydney, New South Wales, while Terry continues his search for Kultana and a Painted Sphere.

This dizzying plot is finally resolved in a very satisfactory manner for Terry and Jodenny (who might finally actually enjoy some time together); humanity is saved (for now); and an engaging new character (Tom Cappaletto) is given a job by the Sea King - so it looks like fans can anticipate more of this unusual and very entertaining series.

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