Read Debatable Space by Philip Palmer Online


Flanagan (who is, for want of a better word, a pirate) has a plan. It seems relatively simple: kidnap Lena, the Cheo's daughter, demand a vast ransom for her safe return, sit back and wait.Only the Cheo, despotic ruler of the known universe, isn't playing ball. Flanagan and his crew have seen this before, of course, but since they've learned a few tricks from the bad old dFlanagan (who is, for want of a better word, a pirate) has a plan. It seems relatively simple: kidnap Lena, the Cheo's daughter, demand a vast ransom for her safe return, sit back and wait.Only the Cheo, despotic ruler of the known universe, isn't playing ball. Flanagan and his crew have seen this before, of course, but since they've learned a few tricks from the bad old days and since they know something about Lena that should make the plan foolproof, the Cheo's defiance is a major setback. It is a situation that calls for extreme measures.Luckily, Flanagan has considerable experience in this area . . ....

Title : Debatable Space
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780316018920
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 496 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Debatable Space Reviews

  • Brad
    2018-12-24 15:04

    Every once in a while, when I am in a bookstore, I find myself needing to leave, but I have nothing in my hands. Sometimes it's because I am wandering around while the kids are in ballet and I need to get back to pick them up; sometimes it's because I came for something specific and it isn't there; and sometimes it's because I am in the middle of an indecisive phase. But I have an answer for all this. With time ticking away, I pick a section -- Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery, History, Biography, Fiction, whatever -- and I look for the first name or cover that captures my attention. If it is by an author I don't know I buy it. I've found this method can turn up some gems, and Philip Palmer's debut novel, Debatable Space, is a particularly shiny example of my spontaneous luck. It sat on my to-read stack for over a year (and when I started reading Debatable Space it was only supposed to give me something to do while I brushed my teeth), but now I wish that I'd read it sooner. Palmer writes in the classic space opera mode: alien races, bloody battles, interstellar travel, big ideas, even bigger technologies, hot sex, and an epic scope. And he does it with a joy I have seldom witnessed. It's one thing for me to enjoy a book and enjoy my time reading it, but it is quite another to actually feel the author enjoying the writing. I felt Palmer doing just that all the way through Debatable Space.Palmer really loved writing this book. He loved his version of the universe, of course, and his imaginary technologies. But mostly he loved his characters, and that passion for Lena, Flanagan, the Cheo, Alby and the others makes Debatable Space one hell of a fun read. Some reviewers have complained about Debatable Space's first person narrative and the way it shifts from character to character (sort of As I Lay Dying on speed), writing that it doesn't really work, but I think most of that frustration comes from their dislike of Palmer's characters. The biggest complaint seems to be that his characters are universally unlikable, which makes me cringe a little because I found them universally the reverse. Flawed, violent, occasionally nasty, but infinitely likable (I imagine that says something about me and the way I see the world)Setting aside Palmer's love for his characters, though, if a reader doesn't connect with them, I can see how Debatable Space could be difficult to enjoy. Luckily, I didn't have that problem and, while there were some times early on when the characters' voices seemed too alike, I found the first person narrative and multiple viewpoints refreshing.I was annoyed, though, by some of Palmer's more gimmicky moments -- such as a hang gliding sequence that used two otherwise blank pages to go "up up up" and "down down down" -- and I am not so sure this book will hold up to repeated readings. Still, I have great hope for his future works, one of which, Red Claw, is already out there.I genuinely loved the time I spent in Palmer's universe. I also love that if I hadn't been in such a hurry to get home that day all those months ago, I never would have found myself reading about Earth's next thousand years. Spontaneity is good. Try it sometime.

  • Terence
    2018-12-30 12:55

    “But I have an answer for all this. With time ticking away, I pick a section -- Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery, History, Biography, Fiction, whatever -- and I look for the first name or cover that captures my attention. If it is by an author I don't know I buy it.”This quote from Brad’s review of Debatable Space decided me on reading this novel as I’m familiar with the phenomenon of which he speaks. I don’t follow his method exactly but there are several authors I’ve discovered by similar means, including Eluki Bes Shahar (Butterfly and Hellflower) and Iain M. Banks (Consider Phlebas, et al.).In this case the result was between 2.5 and 3 stars, and I’ll round up in this case because I was swept along for the weekend I voyaged in Palmer’s “debatable space” by the writing’s enthusiastic pace and verve.My difficulties with the novel are two-fold:(1) I felt like I had read this story before, and there was nothing that I found fresh about it. This isn’t a bad thing – a familiar but well told tale with interesting characters can be a satisfying read but that brings me to my second problem.(2) I wasn’t interested in any of the characters in the book. Lena, the millennium-old mother of the Cheo, dictator of humanity, was the most interesting – at least potentially – but everyone else felt too “stock,” taken down from the shelves to fulfill a designated role.That said, I did find the tale “well told,” and I think Palmer has the potential to write some interesting stuff. For Debatable Space, however, the experience was like a brief summer shower – refreshing and fun while it lasts but soon forgotten.

  • Nikki
    2019-01-21 20:02

    Randomly selected in the library. the narrative is annoying -- very fragmentary, many different narrators and time periods, rapid POV switching -- and the typography makes me roll my eyes (I don't need a page of the letters d o o o o o w n dripping down the page to get that she's falling). The characters are universally unlikeable; the main female character egotistical and self-justifying, the main male character smug and unprincipled. There's a lot of sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. None of this is my thing.And yet. I loved it. I gulped it down practically whole. I was on the edge of my seat. The book has an undeniable energy and joy which swept me up despite myself. It made me root for the characters despite the fact that they are all incredibly flawed. There are sciency infodumps and I do not mind. There's a deus ex machina and it just made me whoop.I'm sure it has other flaws, but while reading it, I couldn't care less. That, in my view, is a good book -- and I'm very glad I picked up two more books by Philip Palmer on the same whim.

  • Mel
    2018-12-26 14:01

    This book felt like a first novel. It tackles an epic scope with a cast of millions (or billions or trillions) of extras who act in ignorable unison without variation nor dissent.A central character is woven through history like Forest Gump, except the future history chosen is lurching and inconsistent. The character is racked with ennui and the inability to choose even the most trivial aspects of her personal life, but simultaneously able to make political accomplishments on the scale of Julius Caesar. It often feels like a novel written in the world of a slacker's delusion of grandeur.The deus ex machina ending is unsatisfying, and begs the question of why anyone capable of the trick of the last few dozen pages would have bothered with the intricacies of the first few hundred pages that seem made retroactively useless, save for a subtle side effect that could have been accomplished much more simply.In all, the book bit off more than it could chew.

  • Michelle
    2018-12-23 17:05

    I had a bad feeling when I started reading this book that I was going to hate it. It had a sort of self-published air about it that filled me with dread.But I persevered, and I'm glad I did, because this was just an excellent book. Filled with Big Ideas and fun characters. I'm not sure I could this book justice by trying to describe it. It takes place over millenia, and although the science is outlandish, it's also plausible. And the aliens are cool.It's structured unlike anything you're likely to read any time soon ... which I suppose might put people off as trying too hard, but I really liked it.So there you have it, another lame non-review.

  • Timons Esaias
    2019-01-04 17:00

    "I once slept for two and a half minutes during one of his sentences, though of course, I masked it well and he never knew."That sentence describes a meeting with a genius whose invention is going to change human galactic history, but who is not much respected by our POV character, as you can see. This is a small example of the irreverent wit that drives much of the narration of this novel. It's difficult to describe what the novel is, because it's very much a kitchen sink novel: it throws a surprising Universe at the reader (though it also throws the reader bones of understanding), and it indulges in humor, social satire, cultural satire, withering historic criticism, while giving us engaging characters who strive against terrible odds, while also making you wonder why humans have been allowed to survive, if this is the best we can do.I love that kind of Science Fiction novel, which takes itself as a romp, an exaggerated charade; and the reading experience reminds me of the times I discovered Out on Blue Six and Perdido Street Station. Yes, I own all of Palmer's novels, and I look forward to reading them.[For those geeks who pay attention to my "progress report" on this book, I should explain. I originally started it in 2015, got almost a hundred pages in, and realized that I'd need to Really Pay Attention to this one. Alas, I got hit with a ton of student manuscripts, so I had to put it aside. Whenever I would think about restarting, some other Major Distraction was looming. So recently I finally had a mostly open period in front of me, and I started the book again from the beginning. So, no, it didn't take me two and a half years to get through this. And yes, I'm sorry I waited.] The character arc for Lena, the central human personage, is somewhat amazing, and very clever. She's essentially from our own time, but manages to live long enough for semi-immortality treatments to be introduced (she's an early adopter), and she will make herself President of Humanity for quite a stretch, and then will venture out into Space. She will undergo many, many transformations and reinventions (and the novel is a satire on self-reinvention, among other things) in her centuries of existence, but in her own narration her self-image is:"Secretly, though, I consider myself to be a monster, a horror---a flayed beast. Nothing will ever persuade me otherwise. But I have an inner cesspool, where all my bad thoughts and fears go. There dwells the monster. There my hate broods and simmers."Later on that same page she will ask, rhetorically, the mother's question which is her personal dilemma: "Is it really all my fault that my oh so beautiful baby turned into the most evil human being who has ever lived?"I note that one of the clever tactics of this novel is that Lena remembers our era, and in telling her story in the future, her main points of reference are sufficiently familiar to the reader to reduce the future shock.Another amusement, for this reader, is that the book plays with the concerns of writers, in relation to the audience. We have a brief scientific explanation at one point, and Lena parenthetically addresses the reader: (Fell free to skip ahead, by the way, if this section is boring you. I know it's complicated and hard. So if you have one of those sad grasshopper minds which can't sustain abstract thought for more than a few seconds, or if you're a child of MTV with a channel-hopping finger and no stamina, then please, just skip! Move on to the exciting sections later in which I battle with master criminals and put my life in danger on a daily basis. Go on---I won't be offended---see if I care---skip!)We also get a lot of homage to classic SF works, and there is a one-paragraph description of a serious Problem, that manages to nod to Heinlein, Niven, Pournelle and Crichton all in one go:"It was, after all, a plague. A plague of intelligent Bugs that could possess and annihilate a human being in instants. These were Bugs that could learn the English language in a matter of days. They could eat a spaceship. They could build a new spaceship out of particles so small the human eye could not perceive them. They were tiny, they were evil, and we were their prey."For my students and clients, be warned. This is a three-grimace novel.Otherwise, recommended.

  • S.J. Higbee
    2018-12-26 16:59

    Like your space opera with plenty of action? What about some science fiction technology thrown in for good measure? Oh – and a band of violent but likeable pirates – how does that sound? There’s more… How’d you feel about a sexy, powerful heroine whose voyage of self-discovery runs parallel to the epic battle scenes and power struggles that litter this story? Palmer delivers all this in his impressive debut novel. Engrossed in devising rhapsodic phrases about a newly discovered sun, Lena is far too slow to respond to the threat of pirate invaders – until they board her yacht and take her hostage. Flanagan, their captain, explains that they will hold her ransom to extort money from the brutally ruthless ruler of Humankind, the Cheo. As Lena is one of the Cheo’s daughters, he’s bound to pay up. Only he doesn’t. Because, as we discover, nothing is exactly at is initially seems. Not the Cheo, not Flanagan – and certainly not Lena.As her imprisonment with the pirate band continues, Lena re-examines her life. And we are treated to a fascinating insight into a complex, believable posthuman character, warts and all. The episodes she recounts take us on a journey from moments of true poignancy to high farce, while exploring the options open to a driven, insecure character on finding herself immortal. However, living alongside the pirate band means that she now has to accommodate the needs and wishes of others – something she hasn’t had to do for a very long time. Generally, male authors in the genre don’t write wholly convincing female characters. Palmer’s magnificent exception to that rule is all the more impressive, when Lena’s introspection intersperses a rollicking adventure with plenty of epic battles and fight scenes to satisfy the most ardent space opera fan. Think of Simon Green’s Deathstalker series to get an idea of the scale he is working on. Palmer’s world is convincingly depicted with plenty of hard science to support his detailed universe. In fact, my only major quibble with this book is that Lena’s descriptions of the technological changes throughout her lifetime, at times, holds up the narrative. But this is a personal preference. Other sci-fi fans will probably fall upon these particular passages as solid proof that Palmer is a master of his craft. Other than his deft handling of his heroine, the other standout feature of this book is Philip’s punchy writing style and the wry humour that permeates the story. It leavens the violent backdrop and helps us identify with Lena. I cared about her – despite her opinionated, vain and selfish character. The fact that Palmer manages to pull off such a trick in his first novel marks him as a talent to watch.

  • Emelia
    2019-01-09 17:51

    Despite the comments that this was a mediocre book, I enjoyed it!It was a fun, fantastic first novel. It deals with pirates (a fave of mine), real ScFi,probable scenarios, a list of fun and lovable, albeit it egotistical, characters, and a trip into what is happening on planet Earth today. Corporations running the galaxy and a few rogues who want toput an end to it. It really was fun to read and I am actually going to read his second novel "Ketos".

  • Scott
    2019-01-04 11:56

    This is a space opera about a band of pirates, led by an old man named Flanagan, who abducts Lena, the daughter of the ruler of the known universe and intends to hold her for a massive ransom.The Cheo, the ruler, isn't fussed by this at all. No ransom for you! Numerous space battles and attempts at revolution ensue. Lena, due to the part she's played in the Cheo's cruel dictatorship, begins to sympathize with the pirates and even fall in love with Flanagan. Pure space opera. It's action-packed and fast-moving, but I felt it to be without tension. This is over a thousand years in the future, and Flanagan seems able to pull almost anything out of his ship's arse to help them win the battle, or at least escape. And the fact that any injury including beheading can be fixed up in the medlab makes hand-to-hand combat much less exciting as well. They don't even seem to react much to their injuries, which should still be agonizingly painful.The story rambles a bit, and alternates with sections of Lena recounting her long history, but it was entertaining enough for the most part. I enjoyed the creative typography (don't worry, it isn't House of Leaves); some of it cutesy, but most of it works, particularly the chilling phrase hidden in the back cover teaser text.

  • Matthew
    2019-01-19 19:54

    Some people are giving this book 2 stars for the same reason I'm giving it 4 and a half. Sure, the plot felt fragmented but that created a real frenetic energy. Healthy characters might suddenly be dead in a sentence, battles were chock full of hyperbole, and I had a strong suspicion that absolutely everyone in the entire universe was out of their mind. But aren't those the very things that make Palmer's universe believable? It all fits together; there wasn't a single moment/character/scene that felt inauthentic or out of place.And some reviewers seemed displeased with Palmer's use of the somewhat gimmicky letters/words strewn up and down the page. dooooooooown, etc. I guess the idea being that only a first-time author would stoop to such gimmicks? But meh, I was okay with stylistic choices like that because the book kept me entertained. If I was ever bored and had to trudge through "creative typography" at the same time, I'm sure I'd have a different opinion. But those stylistic choices fit the quirky plot/characters well. I can honestly say the 479 pages went quickly, it was a fun read.Oh, and I love SF that spotlights scientific theories as much as characters. A lot of my favorite books get me feeling AND thinking. This book might turn off some people but for many others it is a worthwhile read.

  • Ron
    2018-12-27 19:03

    Space opera. Good space opera--a little repetitive and too many data dumps--but a space opera nonetheless.

  • Liberty
    2018-12-31 17:06

    If this book was primarily about Flanagan, I could probably endure it. However, I find Lena tedious, and the sex element has become unbearable. Therefore, I'm putting this book aside.

  • Doug
    2019-01-15 13:05

    don't waste your time. I'm sorry I did.put more gently, this book just was not for me.

  • L.
    2019-01-17 18:57

    Awesome and quite original.

  • Soho_Black
    2018-12-24 12:53

    After years of writing for television and radio, Philip Palmer has switched to novel writing and has landed himself in the science fiction genre for his debut release, "Debatable Space". Being such a popular genre, it's difficult to find anything new to say, so to stand out any new writer has to have something different. Palmer has managed that, but only in part.Firstly, he manages to surprise by making a hero out of a space pirate. This isn't a unique idea, as it's something that Ben Bova has done and the central character in Piers Anthony's "Bio of a Space Tyrant" series started off as a space pirate. But whereas Anthony's pirate turned to politics, Palmer's remains a pirate throughout.It's a fun idea, following Flanagan as he prepares to kidnap Lena, the daughter of the Cheo, who just happens to be the ruler of the galaxy. His plan is to ransom her for lots of money, using the secrets he knows about Lena to persuade the Cheo to pay. Unfortunately, the Cheo has other plans and so we follow Lena, Flanagan and his crew as they try to come up with and pull off a Plan B.The other surprise we get from Palmer is in the way he tells the story. He uses the first person and tells the story from the point of view of the central characters. The story is mostly told from Lena and Flanagan's perspective, but all of the crew get their turn. Again, this isn't an entirely unique idea, but it is a technique more commonly associated with chick- or bloke-lit than with science fiction.As unusual as it is, though, it's only an effective technique when things are happening and you get to see it all from the different viewpoints. When there is less action going on, Palmer has the characters, especially Lena, going through their back story. This is where he stops being quite so original, although there are still some nice touches.The major problem he has given himself that Lena has lived a very long time and so there needs to be a huge amount of back story for her. Rather than fill this in by going into detail or giving her years of doing the same thing, Palmer has her skip over lots of different events which can be difficult to keep in the right order, given that her story is told in parts and isn't entirely chronological. There are a couple of parts which are intriguing and I would have liked more detail on, but all too often Palmer's vision of the future seems familiar from other science fiction writers and it feels as if he had too many ideas and insisted on getting them all in rather than going into more detail with some of them.Palmer is a decent writer and parts of the book, particularly when the pirates are in action, are an enjoyable read and keep moving along pretty quickly. Flanagan has a devious mind, which allows for some fiendish plans and twists that I didn't see coming, but which I thoroughly enjoyed. Sadly, the back story is unable to keep up the same pace, which does make "Debatable Space" a slightly patchy experience.This really is the essence of the novel; when Palmer is good he can be very good, with some wonderful ideas taking their place in a well plotted and exciting adventure story. But when he's not writing that, he seems to either have too many ideas falling over each other and getting in the way of the story until they are all on the page. Had Palmer concentrated on the action, this would have been a much shorter, but much more entertaining book. As it is, there is room for improvement, but the basics are certainly there and make Philip Palmer a writer worth watching out for.I would tend to recommend this book as one to borrow rather than to buy, as whilst it's a decent read, it is one you're only likely to read the once, thanks to a slight lack of depth, even allowing for the novelty of some of the ideas. This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of,,, and

  • Matt
    2018-12-28 18:52

    Debatable Space is an interesting book as Phillip Palmer takes numerous liberties with the rules of writing, while some work well, others don’t. But I do applaud the effort to give the story, at times, more of visual feeling. The atmosphere created in Debatable Space reminded me of the short lived TV show, Firefly. Pirates bent on revenge that don’t necessarily get along but are held together to fight a common cause. There is also some humor sprinkled through out the story that either had me chuckling or groaning.The novel essentially follows two story lines. The first involves a band of pirates kidnapping Lena, family to the Cheo (Emperor), which leads into a serious of plans within plans exploits and finally into a rebellion against the Cheo. The other story line is the life history of Lena, told in journal format and is essentially the history of the Empire itself.Dust Jacket Summary: Flanagan (who is, for want of a better word, a pirate) has a plan. It seems relatively simple: kidnap Lena, the Cheo’s daughter, demand a vast ransom for her safe return, sit back and wait.Only the Cheo, despotic ruler of the known universe, isn’t playing ball. Flanagan and his crew have seen this before, of course, but since they’ve learned a few tricks from the bad old days and since they know something about Lena that should make the plan foolproof, the Cheo’s defiance is a major setback. It is a situation that calls for extreme measures.Luckily, Flanagan has considerable experience in this area . . .What I liked: Phillip Palmer is a very fluid writer. Even though the book is 469 pages I was able to breeze through it pretty quickly. The novel switches view points frequently but I never felt lost or confused and that is a sign of a good writer.Some of the ideas and science explained during the story are a little wonky but how planets become colonized is pure genius. The only problem is that people of Earth do not have a close relationship with their colonies and this leads to abuses. There is story told by another pirate about half way through the book that explains the ramifications of this disaffection that is just gut retching.I also really enjoyed the relationship of Flanagan and Lena. They are the perfect couple as they distrust each other’s motivations and are constantly attempting to undercut one another, but deep down they know that they are made for each other.What I didn’t like: At times, Lena goes to into deep explanations of the science behind her inventions and this brings the story to a grinding halt.The space battles are over too quickly. There is a lot build up to the final battle between the rebels and the Empire that ends in a matter of minutes. Realistic, maybe, but the reader is left wanting more.Last word: This is a highly enjoyable debut novel from Phillip Palmer and I look forward to more adventures in this universe.

  • Libby
    2019-01-22 17:50

    I have to state that parts of this book were very entertaining and engrossing. The big splashy super-science effects were exciting and as far as I can tell,(History Major---You do the Math,) plausible for an advanced civilization. Despite numerous flashbacks, the story moved swiftly through a richly envisioned galaxy. Now that I've covered the good stuff, I've got to tell you, there's bad stuff. First, this is Space Opera, and once we move past the flashy special FX, there is very little development of ideas or character. This is sad, because the author throws out great ideas like 4th of July fireworks. Some of them are well worth developing and I wish that Palmer had seen fit to spend more time on them. Second, he expended a lot of time on the narrative characters' sexual fantasies. I don't mind sexual interludes which advance the plot or serve to illustrate facets of character, in fact I like nothing better than a little spice in a bodice ripper, or a Vampire romance. However, I have to warn potential readers that some of you may find this one a bit too graphic. Too Much Information, Mr. Palmer! Third, I got a little tired of the cutesy-poo typography and playful word arrangement. I understand the word "falling" without having the letters dribbling down the page. Some playfulness is fun, but past a certain repetition, it's just tiresome. Lastly, I soon grew to loathe the main narrative character. What a whiner! Every sentence was self justification for her bad decisions and character flaws, unless it was moaning about self hatred, or how no one appreciated her. She was pompous, self-serving, duplicitous, conniving, self-deceiving, careless of others to the point of many times have I written self, here? Well, it was all about her, and I didn't like her very much. I wanted to tell her to build a bridge and get over it! I suppose that the author didn't want the reader to like her, but oooh, yuck! I would have applauded a lot less of Miss Nastypants and more development of the interesting aliens and pirates. Still, we take what we can get, and a lot of what we get in this book is promising.

  • Rusty
    2018-12-24 20:00

    At the end of the day, I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t like this book as much as I wanted to. My problem, put bluntly, is that no one in this book is very nice. Sure, everyone has a tragic past, but more than anything, Lena is the person that has to carry this novel, it’s 500 plus pages long and about 300 or so of those pages are her telling us about her 1000 year-long life. A life that began in the early 21st century. And I do mean that we got it all. I got to learn all about the best friends from childhood, about the awkward college years, about the first jobs in law enforcement, all the way up to president of humanity… before going insane and murdering people and such. Through it all, Lena displays sociopathic behavior at times, but then an overabundance of love at other times. In all, I didn’t find her remotely interesting, or likable. Some of the minor characters were better, Flannagin was, no doubt, although he too murdered casually and without mercy. But at least his very short backstory gives some rational that makes sense.The other thing that bothered me was how revelations were dropped in a line or two, then we’d spend the next section was devoted to trying to give some post-hoc explanation of that bombshell. The action was confusing, and the dramatic portions of the story were often skipped… I don’t know, this story felt very disjointed to me (the bizarre choices in the layout of the book didn’t help). I really wasn’t a big fan.I’ll give the author some praise though, I like the easy read it was. And it never bored me enough to seriously make me want to put the book down, so it really wasn’t worthy of any hatred. In the end, it was a novel that I think was the author’s debut. Those can be rocky at times, I’ll still read future works by this man… I’ll just keep my fingers crossed for something that runs a bit more up my wheelhouse.

  • Clay Kallam
    2019-01-02 15:20

    Philip Palmer is a scifi newcomer, and his take on a grand space epic, ‘Debatable Space’ (Orbit, $12.99, 496 pages) involves the attempted overthrow of an all-powerful emperor. The pirate Flanagan is determined to free the colonies of Earth from the Cheo, the cruel and ruthless ruler who imposes his will through the use of Doppelganger Robots (DRs), which operate, due to quantum entanglement, instantaneously at a great distance. These indestructible DRs enslave normal humans on colony planets, raping, torturing and killing at will. Meanwhile, Earth is a paradise.Flanagan and his pirates live in Debatable Space, which is outside Earth’s control, and when he kidnaps Lena, the Cheo’s mother, his revolution begins in earnest. The primary problem with ‘Debatable Space,’ though, is the character of Lena, who is 1,000 years old but in the body of a gorgeous young woman. She’s delusional in the present, and spins tales of her past as ruler of Earth, inventor of crucial advances and general all-around genius. She and Flanagan are involved in an unlikely affair that in the end is more puzzling than satisfying.Other issues involve a complex plot that doesn’t quite hold up to intense scrutiny (why would a maladjusted genius give Flanagan alone power the genius could have had himself as well, for example), and limited character development outside of Lena.All that said, though, ‘Debatable Space’ is a solid debut, and Palmer shows flashes of being able to keep that old-time scifi feel while still very clearly being a 21st century writer. He has another book coming out this year set in the same universe, so if you’re feeling adventurous, give ‘Debatable Space’ a shot. It has its flaws, but the positives outweigh the negatives.

  • Dave-Brendon Burgh
    2019-01-02 17:08

    Reading Debatable Space is akin to being shoved into a washing machine while tripping your brains out - it is such a wild ride that I still find myself amazed that I survived it! :-)Take it from me (if you’d like :-) ), Philip Palmer is going to be regarded as one of the legends of SF. This book, as more and more people read it, is going to be held up as one of the most innovative SF novels to hit the shelves in years! This book sits well in the same company as Clarke’s Odyssey and Rama series, Ian MacDonald’s Necroville and Chaga, and Peter F Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn Trilogy. :-)The story seems a bit off-beat once you start reading - Lena, someone very important, is captured and held hostage by a pirate captain and his crew. What’s at stake? Well, Lena’s (and our) sanity, and the fate of humankind, because the pirates are going to use Lena to strike at the Cheo, the tyrannical ruler of the Universe. And not how! :-)This book deals with some incredible concepts (I’ll keep you in the dark, read the book!), takes us on through epic space battles, to distant and wonderful planets, with characters that grab you by the short and curlies and drag you along (and believe me, you’ll enjoy the experience) through one of the funniest and most hard-SF adventures you’ll ever read.This is, without a doubt, one of the best SF books I’ve read in years, so go read it and agree with me! :-)9/10Check out more info on the blog:

  • Don Viecelli
    2018-12-27 12:04

    From My Newsletter #17:I found a new author, Philip Palmer, and I read his debut novel Debatable Space. Mr. Palmer brings considerable writing experience in the media arena, but this is his first science fiction novel. There are several original aspects to this novel. One, it is plotted on a grand scale, in a large universe and moves back and forth in time. Two, the characters are unique and have strange personalities, both good and bad. Three, the writing is very unconventional and each chapter follows one of the characters by name, which took a little time getting used to. Four, the story is a bit irreverent with good humor and you are never sure what is going to occur. The story itself revolves around a space pirate and his crew who kidnaps a woman for ransom who is related to the leader of the universe. It just happens the woman is more or less immortal and no one is sure the leader will pay the ransom or kill everyone involved. The action moves quickly and there are a few surprises thrown in for good measure. The biggest downside to this novel is the author jumps back and forth between the two main characters, the pirate and the woman, and you don’t know who the lead character is anymore. The novel could be edited down somewhat to eliminate unnecessary detail, but, all and all, it is still a good read.

  • Blanche
    2019-01-03 17:05

    YOU ARE PREY.What this book is is an enjoyable romp of a sci-fi novel. What this book thinks it is is the most daring, revolutionary, incredible piece of science fiction in the last 50 years. From the jacket of the book, to the characters themselves, to the author's after word -- almost every sentence is filled with the hyperbole of people constantly singing their own praises. In reality, there is nothing either new or particularly revolutionary about this story, especially considering the author's penchant for shouting out important symbolism at the top of his literary voice; either he doesn't believe his target audience will be sophisticated enough to pick up on his vision, or he truly believes he's doing something extraordinary. Sorry to disappoint you, Philip, but you're fairly run-of-the-mill when it comes to sci-fi. But the world he creates is very interesting, and the story moves along at a nice clip. My verdict -- Debatable Space is an excellent piece of pulp sci-fi, appropriate for commutes or plane trips, though not something to reach for if you're looking for something more complex

  • C. D.Brinker
    2019-01-06 16:19

    This book made me cry. Why? Because I was stupid enough to have bought it and wasted my days reading it. To be fair, the story overall was okay . . . Albeit hackneyed and full of trite characters. But 2/3 of the book was nothing but sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. I mean, come on! The mark of a true amateur is immature thematic elements . . . And the only thing more immature than constant sexual exploration is a poo-poo-pee-pee comedy. Sex in a story is fine, but when every 3 pages is full of crude sexual descriptions that have absolutely nothing to do with theme, plot or character development, it becomes wearisome and pathetic. I didn't purchase an erotica novel, I bought a space-opera! So give me some f*****g sci-fi and not just f*****g!

  • Chris
    2018-12-24 17:10

    Wow. What a dense, fantastic, rollicking read! This one should be placed right next to 'Ringworld' on the great science fiction shelf. I bought this book back in 2008 and it sat on my "to read" bookshelf ever since. I am so glad I chose to read this in my 2013 sci-fi summer reading list.This is one loooong tale (both literally and story-wise); I think the timeline stretches for 100s of years covering the same characters. It takes place in a far-flung future where ANYTHING is possible. It could have easily been 3 shorter novels in a series. A great pirate story, rebellion, fantastic action scenes, and flashbacks from one character that at first take you out of the main story but soon meld seamlessly with the narrative.I definitely recommend this to any fan of science fiction!

  • Chuck
    2019-01-08 19:18

    I haven't read a book that grabbed the reader by the nose and dragged him on a caterwauling ride that didn't stop until the last page since I first read Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash.Until now.Debatable space has the kind of effect. It features the oldest woman in human history, a pirate, and the most despotic leader imaginable (who runs the Earth as a profitable corporation). Plot summary is possible but beside the point; the way the author shifts points of views, and the effect that reading the book has on the reader makes the book a 'must read.' Take my word on in. If you love SF, you'll be glad you did.

  • Goetz
    2018-12-29 12:50

    Ok, I finished it, but there were several moments where I was wondering if I should. For a book that spans several hundred years with the same characters it didn't feel right that we didn't really get to know them. Also the casual loss of lives of supporting characters felt strange. The science might be possible, but it didn't really show what it does with societies and I thought the politics of it questionable, also from the resistance side. The lone pirate that battles the omnipotent dictatorship - I would have expected more pockets of resistance or conscience.

  • Karen Street
    2019-01-12 15:12

    An impressive first novel: imaginative, audacious... enjoyable! I was surprised by the structure and enjoyed the playfulness. The character voices are engaging and come across as believable and real-- the bodies and world might be souped up, but all the human flaws are the same. The shifting character point of view worked for me. Lena takes over for quite some time which was frustrating only in that I wanted to learn more about the other characters faster (mostly Flanagan). It made me laugh... and think.

  • Billy
    2019-01-22 17:01

    Really conflicted about this book. Wonderfully imagined - really cool, really interesting ideas, and delivered mostly by a character so self-absorbed she makes the cast of Seinfeld look like Buddhist monks. It was a real barrier to my enjoyment. I wanted to like the book more but I just hated the character. Which may have been Palmer's intent, I don't know...I'm going to give his other stuff a try if for no other reason than his imagination is a hell of an interesting place to poke around.

  • Robin
    2019-01-02 15:00

    Interesting writing style - written in the perspective of lots of characters, but somehow the story seems to trip along without being broken up.I picked up the book because it had hidden on the back blurb You Are All Prey within the overall review - which I thought was clever. Sometimes the styleistic flourishes didn't work, but overall a very interesting writing style and lots of plot twists.

  • Egil
    2019-01-21 12:01

    Prior to reading Debatable Space I read some reviews posted here. Many reviews had the same criticisms so my expectations were lowered some. After completing this book my expectations were surpassed and I enjoyed it very much.If Quentin Tarantino were to write sci fi novels they would resemble Palmer's work - fast paced, low brow, funny and with over the top action and too much sex and vulgarity. Very entertaining!