- File Size: 1993 KB
- Print Length: 388 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1542709520
- Publisher: Woodbridge Press (January 29, 2017)
- Publication Date: January 29, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01NCUWEF8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,150 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$14.99|
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Explorations: First Contact Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I think it's because while the premise was relatively straight forward - "A damaged alien ship provides the secret to FTL, knowledge of other aliens and a menace to avoid" ... take it away Hooke, Cawdron, Kern, Fox, etc. - it is very difficult for disparate authors to line up the overarching story.
So, we get a kind of timeline across the shorts, but various contradictions that undermine the overall effort. For instance, in one short time dilation from FTL is flagged as so extreme that any ship journey means thousands of years passing on Earth. Such deep time has so many impacts that you may as well disconnect your story from Earth - unless the point is stranger in a strange land whence you return - but it was very much glossed over/ignored elsewhere. Likewise, the sequence of the stories put a first contact effort at the end, which made for strange reading given we'd contacted heaps of aliens already. Not a show stopper, but just a little brow furrowing.
All good stories need a villain, but The Sun, the evil menace/nemesis that drove many of the plots, seemed too amazing in that it tracked ships in FTL or perhaps predicted where they would end up. Given the size of the universe it was an impressive feat that gave me the 'ho hums' a few times when it magically appeared to wreck havoc.
On the plus side, the tone of most of the shorts is consistent with a dark 'can Humanity survive' vibe running through them. Many focused on interpersonal relationships within the space ship crews and we got blown up a lot in the scheme of things. Some of them seemed to just end - a common problem I find with shorts - and while very few of them were explanation-heavy in terms of how the FTL or other technology actually worked, they at least focused on science fiction not science fantasy.
If you like shorts this collection has a lot of stories for a reasonable cost. It's future tech, often involving guns big and small, and there is a theme to glue everything together. It was not outstanding enough to rate 4 or 5 stars, but none of the writing was bad or the plots diabolical so I found it overall a solid 3 star effort.
Déjà vu – Peter Cawdron – 5/5 – it's no secret that Cawdron is one of my favourite Authors, and when you read his books, it is easy to see why. His writing is truly gifted, and Déjà vu is no different, delivering a spell binding tale that leaves you riveted and wanting more. The great thing is this time, there will be as he has said this short is going to be transformed into a full length book. This story follows a group of astronauts on a ship in Earth orbit, going through a routine, but something is not right for one of them, and when she starts to question things, her universe unravels in ways she cannot fathom. This story is exceptional and continues to show why Cawdron is so brilliant.
The Signal – Ralph Kern – 5/5 – This was an interesting story, one that was a little slow to start, but as it unfolded, you were left thinking ‘WOW’. There are some fascinating concepts with the technology (as with most of the shorts in this collection), and Kern’s Characters are exceptionally well written. The story begins with a signal that is received from outer space, and as a result, later down the track, a ship is developed and sent to investigate. I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but the outcomes are rather amazing. The ship goes to investigate the signal and what they find at both the point of origin is not the story, it is what is beyond that is the real tale here.
This is a very clever and very well written story, with a brilliant ending.
Status: Inactive – Richard Fox – 4/5 – Fox has written some great books, and this was another example of his fantastic writing. It takes a little to get into, building slowly as it follows two asteroid miners in the depths of space.
As they are searching around through what was once a planetoid but is now a debris field, they find something rather amazing, and this leads to an incredible discovery. Fox manages to generate some fascinating characters in a magnificent back drop as he unfolds his tale. This is a really enthralling tale, and well worth the read.
The Bottom Line – Chris Kennedy – 4.5/5 – This is a story of a poor Captain who thinks he is in charge of his ship, but soon learns that he isn't. What is meant to be a mission of diplomacy, soon turns into a military mission. They are sent to a planet to get weapons, but the planet does not have a pleasant greeting for the ship. This is a story of betrayal, intrigue, with a lot of twists and a really unbelievable ending.
This story shows the true power of bureaucracy, and how it can lead to dangerous things. The flow of events in this story is just an incredible read, and well worth it, I could not put it down. Kennedy had some excellent characters in this first contact piece, as well as some awesome aliens.
End of the Line – Robert M Campbell – 4.5/5 – This was one of my favourites, mainly because it has one of the best inventions in Science – The Dyson Sphere. Campbell could have stopped there and I would have been happy, but he went further. Humans have found a sphere on which they have based a lot of technology. As they look around the galaxy, they discover a system with a slowly developing Dyson Sphere. They then build a ship to set off to investigate the sphere. I don’t want to give away spoilers for such a fascinating story. But the crew get more than they bargain for when they reach the completed Sphere.
Campbell has some brilliant characters to go with the storyline and the incredible world building he has done. This was a wonderful story, well worth the read.
Mercurial Rescue – Isaac Hooke – 5/5 – I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Isaac Hooke, but that doesn’t stop the fact that this was another sensational tale. I found it very reminiscent of some of the Deep Space 9 episodes. It follows a couple of astronauts on a planet expedition that make an unusual find. When they return with the find to their base camp, it leads to a serious of extraordinary events, and a discovery that will alter their lives forever.
I loved the concept of this story, and would really like to see it expanded, I find this type of first contact story always interesting and the interactions fascinating – and Hooke does not let us down with the minor series he gives us here.
The only complaint is that it is too short. Definitely a favourite in this collection, and one of the must reads.
The Mission – PP Corcoran – 5/5 – A crew have been sent to investigate a Sphere ship that has been hulled and left in space. They approach it and enter it, unsure of what they are going to find. Upon initially entering, they search the ship and find it a ghost ship, like walking through a haunted maze for giants.
This is a really clever story, and one of those ones that makes you wonder what is going to leap out from the next corridor. It makes the story totally captivating. Without giving spoilers away, as the landing party progresses, there are obviously encounters, but it is how Corcoran has written them, bringing his characters and the scene to life that makes this a really thrilling short and a really fantastic read that is easily one of the first you should read in this collection.
The Last Command – Nick Bailey – 4/5 –The Autumn Song’s is on a mission to find the intelligent life that they know is in the system they have just arrived at. The get more than they bargained for. Firstly they encounter a planet that has been decimated by something unknown – and was meant to be the source of the life they were seeking. Then, they encounter a gargantuan vessel the likes of which is seems impossible. The crew is sent into a frenzy, when they are contacted by an artificial construct who has some interesting questions for the Captain, these lead to a fascinating story that is incredibly creative and captivating. I really enjoyed how this story played out, the characters, the background stories, and universe Bailey had created for his ship to live in. Great Read.
Sleeping Giant – PJ Strebor – 3.5/5 – This short reminded me a bit of a Star Trek Voyager episode to start with. The Captain, annoyed at her XO because of his behaviour and attitude (and he is being pretty disrespectful), throws him in the brig for 3wks to teach him a lesson as they are on a long-term mission. She then goes and talks to him, he repents saying it was due to being looked over, all is forgiven, and then they all of a sudden are lovers – on a starship. The Captain and XO? So that happens. But the main story is in relation to a dangerous entity. The ship arrives to find another long range vessel derelict, and the place they were meant to be going having been totally destroyed. On checking, they realise it was attacked by something powerful. This is where an all powerful entity enters the scenario.
I don’t want to give the story away, because although the beginning of this story started a little light, it really picks up at the end as the Captain, her boyfriend and the rest of the crew face off against a deadly entity to try and save not only themselves, but the galaxy. Worth the read!
The Darklady – Scott Moon – 4/5 – I have to admit that at times I was a little lost with this story as it unfolded, but I stuck with it, and I was very glad I did. It does get a little confusing in parts, but it is definitely worth the read.
It follows a crew as they are moving through space on a ship called the ‘Darklady’. The ship is unusual in that it runs not just on normal power, but it can sense and then run on dark matter. The Captain of the ship, Jena Morrison-Diablo is sort of on her own, apart from a semi-organic android, Greg. The story unfolds as the ship heads to the Klekemac system, and without giving the entire thing away, as it unfolds, it becomes clear as to the purpose of the initial story, the ship, and the Captain. What unfolds is a rather amazing tale, full of intrigue, some fascinating aliens and some amazing technology. This had a slow start, but was really worth it overall.
Triaxial – Stephen Moss – 4.5/5 – After the ‘Lost Sister’, an alien starship, parks itself in orbit near the moon, research finds a planet for first contact half way across the galaxy. A crew is selected to travel to this location, with researchers and ambassadors etc. The story unfolds with the ship reaching the planet and finding something incredible, and making first contact. There is the initial first contact with a fascinating species, and the Author does a brilliant job of describing this, the human/alien interaction, the back drop that they are living in, as well as how his main characters respond to it all. I don’t want to give it away, as it is a brilliant adventure, and after first contact there is another adventure that adds an extra element to this story. This is a really great example of Sci-Fi adventure story and a fantastic read.
Harbinger – Josh Hayes – 4.5/5 – This story starts off focussing around a classified bit of technology – ‘babel’, which is actually a catatonic psychic locked in a coffin type tube that can connect with different Alien races and hopefully translate their language and vice versa, allowing for communication in First Contact scenarios. Initially there seems to be some controversy about this ‘new’ technology, the morality and ethics, and the poor ‘allegedly’ living being in the coffin.
As the story progresses though, it takes a bit of a different path, becoming more of a first contact scenario, and, without giving it all away, ends with a sensational twist. Harbinger is a very clever and creative short story, with multiple different paths, with ethics and morality, to ship warfare and first contact, that interweave masterfully to bring us to a brilliant conclusion. Outstanding read.
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