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The Oortian Summer by Richard Rydon

Lulu Books 2007

The Oortian Summer by Richard Rydon is a science fiction story set in the very near future of 2024. In it, he creates a competitive professional environment filled with real people that we can connect with. Then, in order to turn up the tension level, Rydon gives them a powerful, all-too-real doomsday scenario to solve: two comets careening towards Earth.

The story itself revolves around Luper Beauchamps, a young astronomer struggling in both career andlove. He works at an astronomical observatory under the so-called guidance of Professor Walter Hally, a man obsessed with his own fame and prestige. This creates a less than desirable work environment for young Luper, and he turns to senior astronomer Tom Green, and twins Andrea and Andina Jorgenson for friendship and support during what will be the greatest discovery of his life.

In my opinion, two things make The Oortian Summer work: detail and setting.

Rydon uses a keen eye for detail and the knowledge earned from his years working in the science field to give us a glimpse of a day-in-the-life of an astronomer. This isn't the exaggerated Hollywood fluff we've come to know, but honest, real-world experience. It's competitive. It can be slow and tedious. It's about getting enough money to fund your research. But, if you're one of the lucky ones (and Luper Beauchamps is), you can make a discovery that will put your name forever in the annals of history.

Setting is another thing Rydon has a strong grasp of. Having the majority of the events take place in the confines of an astronomical observatory, and by describing it with meticulous detail, the reader can almost see the 50-meter telescope looming above. Not only does this give the feeling of credibility to the events that occur, but it permeates a type of closeness between us and the characters; it's as if we have all been locked away together and have no choice but to get to know one another. Then, when the suspense hits, we're all in it together. There is no place for the characters, or us, to run.

In conclusion, The Oortian Summer is a fine read. It's scientific and technical, yet there aren't pages of calculus equations that leave you rubbing your temples. It covers a common theme, but it covers it in an uncommon way. So, for those of you who read the part above about two comets making a b-line towards Earth and said, "Been there done that," I can tell you, you're wrong. I won't tell you why, though-spoilers ruin all the fun. So, read The Oortian Summer. This is what science fiction was meant to be. And you won't be disappointed.

Thomas Bolme, Jr.

For Independent Professional Book Reviewers



Rydon, Richard



Lulu (388 pp)

July 24, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-43031329-8

"A team of astronomers wrangles with faulty equipment, scientific conundrums and each other in the face of an imminent comet attack"

In the third decade of the 21st century, maverick doctoral student Luper Beauchamps is on top of his game. He's just discovered not one but two new comets, and his keen and creative scientific mind is the envy of his colleagues.

Luper's achievements especially needle away at the eminent professor Walter Hally, his boss at Tektite Ridge Observatory. Lately, Walter's discoveries have been few and far between. He's not about to let some young gun upstage him during what should be the pinnacle of his career, so he starts plotting deviously to prevent just that. Walter begins a campaign of academic sabotage that soon borders on professional malfeasance to sidetrack Luper's career, cautioned against but ultimately abetted by his loyal friends and colleagues.

Thus commences a tale of scientific sleuthing and petty academic squabbling. In fact, sci-fi fans should be warned that The Oortian Summer reads more like Tenure Wars than Star Wars. The story's pacing runs slowly at first and much of the scientific detail will be lost on readers who can't tell a Fourier transformation from a Foucault pendulum.

At times, the story suffers slightly from its fishbowl focus. There are barely hints of the larger world outside the novel's astronomic and scientific communities in Tektite Ridge. This, despite the premise that the planet is on a collision course with the comets Luper and his colleagues are studying and would no doubt be convulsing under the threat.

Nevertheless, Rydon has successfully combined plausible scientific detail with a frequently engaging portrait of the professional life of an astronomer and the thrill of scientific discovery. Readers with a high degree of scientific literacy will find much to appreciate here; others will find the experience less rewarding.

Kirkus Discoveries, Nielsen Business Media,

770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.

tel 646-654-7277 fax 646-654-4706

The Oortian Summer by Richard Rydon Lulu Publishing



"So much more than just a good SiFi"

"The Oortian Summer" begins in the year 2024. Except for the year and some advancement of technology, not much is different than our own times, especially as far as human relationships go. Luper, one of the male characters, is attempting to complete his PhD while working under the direction of a scientist whose own moment of glory has faded. This scientist is Professor Walter Hally. He does everything in his power to thwart Luper's attempts to complete his doctoral dissertation work. He also has a problem with stealing Luper's data and summaries and presenting them for his own recognition. Luper feels very frustrated. In spite of the bad Professor, he does develop some good working and personal relationships with his colleagues. They try to help him undo the damage that the professor is causing. These relationships and the solutions that these people build as a team, lend a great deal of credence and depth to the story.

In the meantime, while all this is happening, the team discovers that there are two large comets approaching earth. The presence of these comets is causing unusual changes in the planet. Luper and his colleague desperately attempt to find a way to deal with this situation without causing massive destruction on the planet. Their solution to the problem is incredibly creative and unique.

Once again, I enjoyed reading another excellent science fiction novel by the scientist/writer Richard Rydon. It would be preferable to read his novels in order of their appearance; however, it is not necessary. I actually found myself going back in time while reading "The Oortian Summer," enjoying learning more about how these characters developed and evolved for his second story.

Once again, I highly recommend that sci-fi fans read this novel by this author. I think that fans of true science will also enjoy the creativity that Rydon uses to incorporate true science into science fiction. Do not miss out on this one! If you are looking for the perfect gift for a SciFi fan, this is the one.

Reviewed by Paige Lovitt

For Reader Views,



Science Fiction/Fantasy

The Oortian Summer By: Richard Rydon


Publication Date: July 2007

ISBN: 978-1430313298

"A realistic sci-fi novel"

It is the spring of 2024 and Luper Beauchamps, a bright and promising Ph.D. candidate in Astronomy, is busy collecting data. Working at the Tektite Ridge Observatory, under the guidance of Professor Walter Hally, Luper is supposed to be working out monthly results for his boss. But instead the young scientist has been busy analyzing some interesting anomalies that he has discovered over the course of several months of data taking. Confrontation soon develops between Luper and Professor Hally, an insecure, overbearing, obnoxious and all-around nasty person.   Even with Professor Hally’s constant attempts to sabotage Luper’s research, the Ph.D. candidate discovers not one, but two comets. The second comet, huge, long, cylindrical, and rotating, is nicknamed the ‘spinning rod.’ All is going well at the research lab until Luper and his colleagues realize that the second comet has split in two and that both sections are hurling toward Earth. Will either (or both) sections of the comet, dubbed KOA-1 and KOA-2, slam into Earth, or will they pass harmlessly by our planet? That is the question that keeps readers glued to the pages of The Oortian Summer.   The concept of a comet crashing into Earth is certainly not a new idea, but The Oortian Summer offers much more than a simple comet plot. The researchers discover that the comets in question are made of iron and are having a harmful effect on the magnetic fields on Earth. Migratory animals that rely on those fields soon start showing navigation problems. It doesn’t take long for the scientists to realize that the two large comets speeding toward Earth may cause a devastating geomagnetic flip. But there are other problems too – computers at the lab keep crashing, leeks in the nearby greenhouse are growing at an alarming rate, and a couple of the older professors’ rheumatism has disappeared. Are these events related to the comets’ approach? There is plenty of mystery to solve in this book.   What sets The Oortian Summer apart from other science fiction novels is the interplay between the colleagues in the lab. Professor Hally, in the words of Luper, is a “dirty hypocrite,” and after all the terrible things he does to Luper, the reader will be rooting for the younger scientist. There are also the beautiful twins, Andrea and Andina, Dr. Tom Green who comes to Luper’s aid again and again, the bumbling post-docs Lex and Briny, Panthus, a fat and lazy cat, as well as several other notable characters. The way this mismatched group interacts as they work in tight quarters in an observatory is perhaps the highlight of this book. The author has created a group of very real characters, most of whom are quite likeable, while a few have no redeemable characteristics.   The author is a retired scientist and his scientific background shows through in his story where the action closely mirrors that in a real life laboratory. Unlike many novels where the characters come to a solution quickly, the researchers in Rydon’s story struggle with the science and math behind the problem. There are plenty of false starts, wrong solutions, and miscalculations. Following along as the scientists work out the problems associated with the comets keeps the action going at a quick pace.   Quill says: The Oortian Summer is an entertaining science fiction novel with plenty of real science thrown in to keep the action realistic.   Feathered Quill Book Reviews    

Feathered Quill Book Reviews

Reviewed by: Ellen Feld Review Date:

7 August 2009 


The Oortian Summer (Science Fiction Novel)

Richard what a great story line. Will love reading it.