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How do you reconcile aliens and C-130s? By reading Wayne Lutz' exciting new novel, Echo of a Distant Planet! This thoughtfully-crafted book is recommended for both the Sci-Fi enthusiast as well as anyone wanting to know more about the USAF, its flyers and the venerable C-130 Hercules... John Cathcart, Military Writers Society of America
From the Author
With a background in physics and military aviation, I began this novel with the goal of integrating what I know with what might occur over a period of four decades. It's not a historical novel, but the scenes are based on realities I've experienced in the U.S. Air Force and the California Air National Guard. The C-130 Hercules aircraft is the hero of this book, with scenes set at military bases throughout North and Central America. Science fiction has always been my passion. But with several books already published in the series entitled 'Coastal British Columbia Stories,' military aviation science fiction was a new direction for me. This book was a Book Award Winner of 2010's Military Writers Society of America in the category SciFi/Fantasy/Horror: Honorable Mention - 'Echo of a Distant Planet' by Wayne Lutz
Born and raised in upstate New York, sunshine and the University of Southern California drew me west. My Air Force service was followed by 20 years as a C-130 aircraft maintenance officer with the California Air National Guard. From 1980-2005 I was Chairman of the Department of Aeronautics at Mt. San Antonio College and led the college's Flying Team to championships as Top Community College in the US seven times. Meanwhile, I continued to accrue flying time as a FAA certified flight instructor, logging 7000 hours. I now reside in a floating cabin on Powell Lake in British Columbia and a city-folk condo in Bellingham, WA.
I am an outdoors kind of guy. You will find me most often at my floating cabin on Powell Lake boating, hiking, fishing, reading or writing. I use my quad to explore the back country. I enjoy touring inlets and bays along the BC coast in my 30-foot Bayliner, as well as flying to remote destinations in my Piper Arrow.
My book series entitled 'Coastal British Columbia Stories' highlights the people, places, and off-the-grid adventures in a region where mountains drop into the sea and lifestyles focus on self-reliance and a different sense of purpose. As for writing, non-fiction is my main contribution to the writing world, but science fiction is my passion.
As the reader considers the evocative cover art of Wayne Lutz' "Echo of a Distant Planet," depicting both C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and a distant galaxy, he/she will wonder how these very different images will be brought together in the novel. Trust me; the reader will not be disappointed with the answers found in this thoughtfully-crafted book.
USAF maintenance officer, Shawna Whitney is haunted by recurring and often frightening images. Over a period of 33 years, her life is impacted by strange and unexplainable events and by what appear to be glimpses into the future. Through the years, these intermittent "dreams" lead her to question her sanity and eventually to wonder if her concept of time is being challenged by forces beyond her control. Through the help of a friend and lover, she slowly begins to accept her fate and unravel the mystery when her future becomes her present.
"Echo of a Distant Planet" succeeds in large part because Lutz' main characters come across as normal human beings, living normal lives--"normal" within the constraints of military rules, culture and customs. The reader is slowly, but inevitably drawn into Shawna's life--and those around her--by measured narration, thorough character development, and level-headed story-telling.
This book is recommended for both the Sci-Fi enthusiast as well as anyone wanting to know more about the USAF, its flyers and maintainers and the venerable C-130 Hercules.
John Cathcart Reviewer, Military Writers Society of America and Award-winning author of "Delta 7"
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Disappointing read. This novel is more about a young woman's career as an airforce maintenance technician than a hard science fiction novel. The science fiction section of the novel is in fact a very minor part of the book and the contact part is skimmed over in a matter of pages. No information is given on the alien species attempting contact, nor how they discovered life on earth in the first place. Characters are introduced throughout the novel that appear to be dead ends and have no relevance to the plot. Most notably the character of Irene. The reader never finds out why she and Jay are tied in a long term relationship, why Jay never leaves her for Shawna and no details are given of her illness. She dies and that's that. The novel is so packed with information about the aircraft that I found myself speed reading those parts hoping the science fiction would start to emerge. Even the memories of the future experienced by Shawna feature very rarely in the novel and that is what the novel is based on. They are almost insignificant to the plot until the final pages and there is no lead in from those memories to where all of a sudden the entire staff of an observatory dedicate a whole nights observation to one point in the sky based on a memory of the future. A previous reviewer stated this novel was better than Contact? I beg to differ. Contact was written by a scientist. This novel appears to have been written by someone with scant knowledge of science who spent a career in the Air Force and was a novel about the Air Force. This book doesn't hold a candle to Contact, it's barely science fiction.
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