|Debatable Space is Philip
Palmers first novel. Mr Palmer has a day job as a TV script writer and regrettably,
his day job has infected his novel.
The bulk of the story is told from the viewpoint of
Lena, mother of the chief executive officer (The Cheo) and sole owner of the Universal
Trading Corporation. Her history, for she has lived for over a thousand years, is given in
chapters devoted to flashbacks through her life. The Cheo is the principal villain of the
book; a self-serving megalomaniac with a troop of hangers on. Up against him is a band of
pirates who transmute into freedom fighters.
Unfortunately, the characters were two dimensional at best, the constant change of
viewpoint story telling was wearying, and the principal villain was a nonentity of the
Debatable Space is a wild, sweeping piece of space opera, with
irony and villains a plenty but it doesnt read as one, instead it reads as
the novelisation of a TV series I would probably want to watch. The book makes a very good
case for the TV series, but a weak excuse for a novel.