Set on a generation ship, Brenda Cooper’s novel The Creative Fire centers around Ruby Martin, a lowly bot tech who aspires to be more than her bottom-run gray status. When there is a serious accident on the ship, she uses it as an opportunity for advancement, falling in love with someone who has a higher status, since his uniform is blue. Inspired by the life of Eva Peron, Cooper creates a tense world inside the Creative Fire generation ship. A dystopian situation set inside the generation ship’s pressure cooker environment forces Ruby to make some tough decisions. It also gives her an opportunity to advance because of her magnificent voice and the edifying songs she writers. Unfortunately, Cooper’s prose is bland and flat. Reading this novel brought back memories of Robert Heinlein’s much-beloved tale of interplanetary revolution, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. My reaction was much the same. “Wow, cool ideas! Why is the writing so horrible?” My other reaction to reading The Creative Fire was that I’m exactly not the right demographic for this. Teenage girls who enjoy the romance and political struggle of The Hunger Games might find this novel entertaining. Still, even if one writes for the tween audience, there’s no excuse for writing this inert.
Out of 10/5.9, higher for fans of The Hunger Games and speculative fiction series with plucky female protagonists.