Jimmy Vik is one of the best deep-space miners the Company has, but it’s a tough gig, and Jimmy’s no spring chicken. So when he finds a hidden pocket of gold ore nestled deep in shaft 57, a world of possibilities springs to mind. But failing to report a cache of precious metal carries a death sentence, and getting it off-station isn’t a job for one man. Soon Jimmy finds himself in cahoots with a two-bit con man, forced to manipulate his ex-lover/current supervisor, and dodging a lethal assassin from a major crime syndicate, all in the hopes of starting a better life.
Shea is spot-on with character development, and the premise of Off Rock isn’t bad, yet both succumb to the incredibly slow pacing of the story. Nothing of note really starts happening until well past the half-way mark. And even though we’re being transported to the centuries-away future of 2778, there’s a strangely anachronistic and less-than-sci-fi feel to certain elements of the story, such as gold still being a rare enough metal to kill for. Where are the dimensional crystals or quantum titanium? Where are the cool gadgets? In short, where’s the futurism in this sci-fi story?