Colonised asteroids, plentiful spaceships, an Astrogold Corporation tower approached by aircar: these are tokens of a world soothingly remote from present-day anxieties. But in Thor’s Hammer by Wynne Whiteford (Cory & Collins, 150 pp, $3.95 pb), the euphoric sense of disconnection has extended rather too far.
It is the twenty-first century, and a renegade from Astrogold has threatened (fairly explicitly) to destroy life on decadent Earth by hammering it with an asteroid. In 1983 it took four hours and twenty minutes for a message from Pioneer IO to travel from Neptune’s vicinity to Earth; yet people in Thor’s Hammer constantly behave as if similar messages between Earth and the asteroid belt were either impossible or unsporting. Instead, the hero is despatched on a six-month space journey, as the only man competent to investigate the looming threat.