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Alpha Redemption Paperback – September 1, 2010

30 customer reviews

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Nominated for the 2013 Philip K. Dick Award and a finalist for the 2013 Kitschies Golden Tentacle (Debut Novel) Award, "A Calculated Life" examines what it means to live a “normal” life. Learn more about the book | See more science fiction
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Reviews

"Move over, Hal...meet Jay."

Alpha Redemption is a beautiful work of art, cleverly told, portraying deep spiritual themes - a perfect storm of fiction. The daring parallel structure of Alpha is wildly successful, both in terms of mere pleasure in reading, and the manner in which it drives the story forward. It is heart-wrenching, pulling with the force of a bulldozer. From start to end, my heart leapt for Baines' main character, and, unpredictably, for his secondary character. Baines possessed the creative ability to make me feel for a computer! Move over, Hal...meet Jay. Alpha's pacing flowed superbly, striking a nice balance between philosophy, action, and the resulting character development. The story is deeply satisfying, the characters are interesting and compelling, and the reader will pull for them...and the gospel. This one's a clear winner.
~ Marc Schooley, author of The Dark Man

In Alpha Redemption, a story both fascinating and unique, P.A. Baines wonderfully marries two of my favorite themes: the danger and isolation of space exploration and the idea of man's creation giving him greater insight into his own Creator. If you like your science fiction on the introspective side -- on the order of Clarke's 2001 or Pohl's Gateway -- then this is a must read.
~ Kerry Nietz, author of A Star Curiously Singing, 2010 Indie Book Awards Finalist in Science Fiction and Religious Fiction categories

An all nighter, can't-put-it-down read, with a unique twist I didn't see coming and the perfect book for fans of Asimov or Clarke!
~ Dana Bell, author of Winter Awakening

Alpha Redemption is a haunting Sci-fi tale told through the masterful prose of P. A. Baines. Astronaut Brett Denton is on a light speed journey to Alpha Centauri, but his true journey is one of tragic self discovery as he delves into his past and confronts the hidden pain there. With echoes of 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, this is a treat for any hard Sci-fi lover and a must for every Christian who has ever doubted their faith in the one true God.
~ Kirk Outerbridge, author of Eternity Falls and The Tenth Crusader

A book that is not simply bold and adventurous but also well-written. Bravo!
~ Chris Walley, author of the Lamb among the Stars trilogy

An inspiring look forward to mankind's first reach for the stars, and to AI's first reach for something beyond its programming.
~ Ryan Grabow, author of Caffeine

Alpha Redemption is that rarest of combinations: both thoughtful and emotional. Baines has crafted an intriguing and beautiful story of love, loss, and grace. While simultaneously tackling the singularly sci-fi question, what is humanity, the author weaves questions of greater importance: what is the soul, and what is love. Alpha Redemption is a brief, but ambitious work, spanning an entire lifetime, and Baines has managed to work all these disparate parts into a wonderful, eminently readable, enjoyable piece.
~ Randy Streu, Editor, Digital Dragon Magazine

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Splashdown Books (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0986451746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0986451744
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,862,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

About me

I was conceived in the USA, born in England, raised in Africa and after a childhood spent travelling around the world, consider myself a nomad at heart. I love the smell of a harbour, and have never lived more than a few miles from the ocean. I love animals and if I could do it all again would choose a career as a big game warden in an African nature reserve.

I have done some interesting jobs through the years, including working as a waiter, a supermarket salesman and, for a number of years, as a fitness instructor (at one point winning a national aerobics title). I originally studied to be a psychologist but abandoned this to concentate on my fitness career.

At the age of twenty, I bought my first computer and discovered I had a knack for programming. For the past twenty years, I have worked as an IT professional, and am currently responsible for maintaining the biggest database of its type in the world. Married with two children, I live in a small farming community in Holland.


My writing

My first serious attempt at writing was a science-fiction thriller inspired by the book of Revelation. My plan was to write something that would appeal to both the Christian and secular markets. The Wire was accepted by a well-known secular agent in New York but was not quite ready for publication.

Three years ago I started a college degree in Creative Writing. The tutor and assessor both felt my writing was of a publishable standard and suggested I try to sell some of my work. I looked around to see if Christian speculative fiction was a viable option and found Marcher Lord Press ("MLP"). I wrote two stories and submitted them to MLP. Later they were entered in the Marcher Lord Select contest. The story I expected to do well was voted out of the first round. My second story, Alpha Redemption, which I almost did not enter, went through to the semi-finals and attracted quite a lot of interest. One of those interested people was Grace Bridges, who owns Splashdown Books. After I had made a few tweaks to the plot, Grace offered to publish Alpha Redemption.

In the period between the contest and Grace's publication offer, I submitted two short stories to online magazines, both of which have appeared in print.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marc Schooley on September 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Alpha Redemption is a beautiful work of art, cleverly told, portraying deep spiritual themes - a perfect storm of fiction. The daring parallel structure of Alpha is wildly successful, both in terms of mere pleasure in reading, and the manner in which it drives the story forward. It is heart-wrenching, pulling with the force of a bulldozer. From start to end, my heart leapt for Baines' main character, and, unpredictably, for his secondary character. Baines possessed the creative ability to make me feel for a computer! Move over, Hal...meet Jay. Alpha's pacing flowed superbly, striking a nice balance between philosophy, action, and the resulting character development. The story is deeply satisfying, the characters are interesting and compelling, and the reader will pull for them...and the gospel. This one's a clear winner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adam David Collings on March 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hard science fiction, a deeply dramatic character arc, lots of spiritual metaphor, and exploration of the interesting questions. This book has it all. Brett is a broken man. He's never been the same since the death of his wife and children. He has turned away from his faith in God. With nothing left to loose, he takes on a dangerous job - being the first human to travel beyond light-peed on an inter-stellar journey to Alpha Centauri. Along the way, the ship's computer - Jay - begins to show signs of artificial intelligence - of sentience.

This book deals with questions that some Christians might find controversial. If there were such a thing as AI, could a machine have a spiritual aspect to them? Could they have a soul? But isn't that what good science fiction always does? It asks questions. It asks "What if?"

The structure of the book is atypical. It alternates between the present-day story on the spaceship, and glimpses from Brett's past. I hesitate to call these flashback scenes back story, because they are intrinsically part of the tale being told. In much the same way as the television series Lost, each chapter features a story from a different part of Brett's life. Scenes alternate between the present and flashbacks. These flashbacks are linked to the present-day part of the chapter on a thematic level. Each new chapter takes the back story further back in time - so we see Brett's life in reserve. This structure takes a little concentration at first, but I figured out the pattern quite early, and then I just left myself get swept away by the story. I don't want to give too much away, but there are important reasons for using this particular structure. Trust me - it works.

This story doesn't just use space as a setting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fred L. Warren on October 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
The first near-lightspeed spaceship is accelerating toward Alpha Centauri, guided by an artificial intelligence and carrying a single passenger. Brett has volunteered for what may well be a one-way mission, trying to restore some shred of meaning to his shattered life. The AI, "Jay," mimics a human mind and personality-it's designed to learn, and has the potential to surpass its programming. Something-or someone-is waiting for them in the darkness of space, and the encounter will change both Brett and Jay forever.

P. A. Baines' debut novel, Alpha Redemption, is a thoughtful, emotional story, full of wonder and mystery. Though it's set in the future, the speculative window-dressing takes back seat to a tale about grief, coming to terms with loss, and the meaning and nature of redemption, a word we blithely toss about in both secular and religious society without thinking too deeply about it. Baines asks what it might cost to restore a life in shambles and obtain an opportunity to begin again. His answer involves a journey of both spiritual and physical transformation that left me pondering the story's outcome for a long time after I finished reading.

In a series of flashbacks that go further back in time as the ship nears its destination, we discover more about Brett and the details of the tragedy that defines his life and has driven him to volunteer for this risky mission. In the present, we watch Jay learn from Brett what it means to be human-a parallel journey from programming to sentience, and from student to teacher. When an unexpected crisis threatens their mission, both occupants of the spacecraft must make a decision that will complete their respective transformations and seal their fates.

I enjoyed Alpha Redemption.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RStreu on September 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
One of the coolest things about editing a small magazine like Digital Dragon is the chance to hear from small presses and to discover new and exciting talent. Such is the case with P.A. Baines and his debut novel, "Alpha Redemption" (Splashdown Books).

Told as a series of flashbacks, in reverse order, "Redemption" tells the life story of Brett Denton, an out-of-work widower and ex-pilot with a chance to rekindle his dream of spaceflight. Drifting along after the tragic deaths of his wife and sons, Brett has given up on God, on life, and on himself. On a whim, he responds to an ad for a test subject aboard an experimental starship - the first of its kind - to both explore farther than any mission before and to test the capacity of a human to withstand travel at light speed.

Denton is chosen, and as the story begins, Brett is already several months into his two-year mission. He is learning the layout of the ship and the quirks of his only companion: the ship's learning-capable AI. He also, quickly, discovers a mystery: he is getting younger. And as he passes those earlier stages of life, we learn more about Brett's story: how he came to the ship, his family tragedy, his marriage, and more. We learn why he left God, and how he was introduced to him. Both complicating and mitigating the issue, Jay, the artificial intelligence in control of the ship, begins to develop very (and often disturbingly) human qualities, and soon begins to malfunction.

As Brett, continues through the mission, aging spiritually, even as he grows younger physically, he learns the things he's forgotten (or perhaps never knew) about friendship, love, and grace.
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