There are many kinds of bad SF out there. One of the subtler kinds is written with enough competence that it might be good if the author had any original ideas, but reads like a tired paste-up of familiar genre tropes and plot twists that an experienced reader can see coming a light-year off.
Edward Willett’s Right To Know (Diamond Book Distributors) is such a novel. Oppressive society on a decaying generation starship! Plucky, desperate resistance! Planetfall where humans with FTL drives got there ahead of them! Earth has mysteriously vanished! Fanatical planetside cultists mistake our hero for their messiah! Head of the Resistance is the Captain’s daughter! (That last one would only be an actual spoiler if you’re thick as neutronium, because it’s telegraphed with about the subtlety of a brick upside the head.)
Worse, the book doesn’t work very well even on its own terms. To name only one of the obvious problems, the whole plot turns on the ship’s oppressive officers somehow learning their target planet is inhabited without having twigged that the planetsiders are human. Um, hello, radio emissions? And we’re supposed to believe that the Mayflower II carries planet-buster missiles but doesn’t mount a decent telescope or survey probes?
A lame tissue of cliches like this usually has one of two origins. It may be cynical hackwork by someone who knows the genre very well, is getting paid by the yard, and doesn’t care to work any harder than minimally necessary. Or it can be evidence of naivete by someone who means well but barely knows the SF genre at all and has mistaken surface features for essence. The difference is significant because the naive auteur may improve, but the cynical hack is unlikely to; such laziness becomes a habit difficult to break, especially when it pays.
I’m going to go with the “cynical hackwork” theory on this one, given that the publisher reports the author to have uttered over fifty books. I’m posting this review mainly as a warning: given that this is what volume 51+ looks like, neither the past nor the future works of Edward Willett seem likely to be worth a pitcher of warm spit. Avoid.