Forge, 1997, 320 pages, C$32.00 hc, ISBN 0-312-86270-9
—Hi, what’s up?
—Thought about our next book a bit. You know that we’ve got to deliver another thriller to Tor/Forge in the coming year.-
—Yeah, something a bit meatier than our Craig Kreident franchise for Ace.
—Exactly. So, I was watching DIE HARD yesterday, and-
—Ah yeah, pretty good movie. We could do something like this.
—Exactly. So, I began thinking where terrorists could do some damage, and came up with something pretty wild. Ready? How about Cape Kennedy?
—Terrorists take over a shuttle? That’s a great hook!
—Thanks. Now, I guess we’d have some kind of shuttle flight-
—-so we could show off our Hard-SF background with the technical details-
—Yeah, and terrorists would threaten to blow up the shuttle on the launch pad while the hero would run around, killing bad guys and saving the shuttle.
—Terrific premise. We can do something with this.
—The best thing is that there’s plenty of explosives around.
—Right! A few rockets here and there, some hi-tech weapons…
—Not to mention helicopters and APCs and the shuttle!
—We could even sell the movie rights to Hollywood!
—But no reviewer would miss the connection.
—Hey, this one’s for the money, right?
—Uh-huh. So, back to the premise: We could always make the hero -an astronaut- a bit more vulnerable, something to chuck off in the movie-
—Like, oh, having him with a broken leg?
—Oh, come on, he’d be grounded- Hey, that’s not bad! He’d be pissed-
—Yeah! And then he’s wobble along blowing up terrorists (laughs)
—We could make this work. And what about a love interest?
—Uh… Got it! An ex-lover of his that’s gone up to flight control. Traditional fiery relationship. But then they kiss and make up.
—I like it. How about a villain?
—Oh, don’t know yet… We’ll get around to that later. I just want to make sure we’ve got a good amazon female henchman assassin character somewhere.
—That about wraps it. I’ll draft the outline and send it to New York-
—No special effort for style, I guess.
—Nah. We nailed it with Ill Wind: No need to waste style on thrillers. Descriptive is good enough. Gotta keep them turning the pages!
—That’s the goal! Okay, talk to you later.
Anderson and Beason probably never had the above conversation, but they succeeded in producing a perfectly entertaining thriller with Ignition. Okay, so the villain is simultaneously hilarious and bland, the conclusion is dragged-out and the image of a hero with a broken leg is often more comical than inspiring, but the remainder of the novel isn’t half-bad. A couple of big explosions, action scenes and classic wish-fulfillment makes this an engrossing read. Should make an interesting movie.