Okay read but nothing to go out of your way for. It can fill in the spaces when you’re between the classic old stuff and exploring recent work. Sundipping is the dangerous occupation of collecting energy from the Sun and selling it to Earth colonies. There are only around twenty people that do it. Humans are better than machines because they can improvise in dangerous situations.
Matthew Lawton got into sundipping after walking out on his job. He made money by playing poker. One night he lost big to sundipper Jack Sangamon. Jack makes him an offer. He’ll set him up with Wellington Yu who directs a fleet of pilots. In return he wants a small amount of money and an unnamed favor to be called for whenever Jack feels like it.
The book switches between Matthew on Earth and as a sundipper. He has a schedule he keeps that allows him vacation time. His sometime girlfriend is Sian. One night he has a nightmare about a girl named Gem. He’s also more than curious about his new neighbor Sasha. She keeps to herself and Matthew just has to get to know her.
She keeps avoiding him until he pushes the issue and takes food to her house. She’s still cold towards him until finally telling him she’s hiding from the Beneficial Party. Her husband was a high official and she’s accused of murdering him. She’s fond of old vinyl and is listening to Perry Como and Frank Sinatra. The albums belonged to her husband. Matthew has a very strange experience with her. He decides to toss a party at his place and invites Sasha.
It’s the usual brawl with sex,booze and drugs. Sasha shows up and Sian manages to get her away from him and introduce her to ladykiller Cass. Matthew feels a lot of jealousy as he sees Cass making his successful moves. The next morning he checks a video bug he snuck into her house and doesn’t see her. He goes over and spots her and Cass. She turns around and Matthew runs back home.
Back to Gem. She crashed her ship on Mercury and he went for the rescue despite the danger. In the process he wrecked Yu’s ship and was fired. Matthew and Gem get up close and personal but she says she’s not an exclusive. Jack is smitten with her and now it’s time to call in the favor. He wants Gem. She agrees and Matthew just has to live with it that she’s part time with him.
It turns out her crash was sabotage. Wu was involved and he and another fleet owner were found guilty of attempted murder. That broke up the feels and the sundippers are now independents. Matthew is making a lot of money and is becoming top dog. Jack and Gem have a bet about who can collect the most energy. It costs both of them.
One big reason people go into sundipping is The Gift. Retired veteran Rainbow Harvest is dying of cancer. She tells Matthew The Gift is absorbing energy from the Sun that leads to sexual prowess and life power. That’s how Rainbow has managed to live so long with her cancers.
Matthew returns to Earth and the Sasha scenario continues. Matthew makes a discovery that shocks him.
The jumping between storylines is distracting and brings down what could have been adecent read instead of one that’s barely okay. Thompson is best known as one of the authors contributing to the “Dragonlance” series. “Sundippers” is his first novel.