I only got pulled out of the story once, and that was early in Ch 17 when Rick and Pepper are on the highway and the grid goes out.
If all that happened was the enhanced gravity failing, I see no cause for a violent jolt--they'd just get lighter, and should not have left the road, at least on that account. They might have gotten blown sideways by the escaping atmosphere, but that would have to be described differently, and the air was already gone by then anyway.Then a violent jolt—and our Fuzer starts lifting off the road.
Oh--and they had TWO liftoffs:
My skepticism was aroused by that 10- to 12-second airborne interval, but the math for that is beyond me these days, and it would depend on unstated variables, such as the terrain and whether the road was banked where they lost contact with it.And in the blink of a quartz clock, we start lifting off the pavement, too.
At least they were lucky to be able to walk back before the utilities were restored.
So, that passage has some notable dents and scratches in it, but it'd be pretty easy to fix.
Tiny niggles ...
Not quite. My USGS map gives Olympus Mons an elevation of 21,229 km. Oh, and it's not alone; the Tharsis Montes are pretty close to it and almost as tall. Get the map; you'll love it.The one mighty exception to the gentler topography of the north is Olympus Mons, a dormant shield volcano rising over twenty-five klicks from the rolling plain.
Another deals with the setting and its backstory. I have no problem with the shielding and artificial gravity, but what's inside them feels unexpectedly lush and sort of old-Earth traditional, with houses and shopping malls and such--trees and streams. I can't help wondering who paid for all that? This is some very expensive infrastructure, even if only from a fuel-use point of view. There's a lot in the background that isn't explained. I suspect a very large asteroid mining industry, probably state-owned.
Oh, and--people still smoke? LEGALLY? And someone is using precious, limited cropland to grow tobacco. I'll grant nicotine, but even now we have e-cigs. That's a beef I had with Battlestar Galactica, too: they ran out of food and fuel, but they never quite ran out of cigars or booze.
Other than that, this is a marvelous story; the characterization and dialog were especially well done. The interaction between Rick and Pepper is very appealing.
Bumps and all, I think this one will wind up on my year's Best-of list.