Over the years I have read much of what Timothy Zahn has produced…within the Star Wars universe. As much as I loved the Heir to the Empire trilogy and the other works by Zahn that told the story of the ruthless man who would one day come to rule over the remnants of the Empire – Grand Admiral Thrawn – I never took the next step to find out how well Timothy Zahn wrote outside of the Star Wars universe. Hopefully soon I will find out when I read Deadman Switch.

Deadman Switch tells the story of a unique planetary system where faster-than-light travel does not work within a 20 light-year radius. However, it is discovered, quite by accident, that FTL drives will work within that perimeter if the ship is piloted by a dead man. Because the planet is rich in minerals, exploiting those minerals becomes a necessity and soon a way is found to both mine the planets and pilot ships to and from the system.