- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 29 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Blue Bedlam Books
- Audible.com Release Date: October 20, 2014
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00OPAK5BA
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Fluency Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
In parts of the story, the characters have flashbacks. However, these were confusing and it was not always clear that a flashback was happening. I also felt that the mission commander was stereotyped television military, just a bit too predictable in his attitudes. I downrated the book one star on these annoyances.
I recommend this book for those science fiction readers that want more character interaction and less pages of technical description.
By Bob Gelms
Fluency by Jennifer Wells, the first book in the Confluence series, causes me to ask the first question, "When can we expect book number two?" This is a wonderful book. Ms. Wells does almost everything perfectly that a sci-fi novel should.
The book follows the exploits of Dr. Jane Holloway. She is a linguist, hence the title of the novel, but fluency in what? The answer is why she is included in the latest mission in space.
Sometime in the 1960’s NASA discovered a spacecraft orbiting the Sun in the asteroid belt. It’s gigantic. They don’t know how it got there or how long it’s been there. It doesn’t send out signals of any kind detectable on Earth. It evinces no hostile intent; in fact, it evinces no intent at all. NASA has come to the conclusion that the craft is uninhabited and is nothing more than a derelict. So, NASA, of course, has hidden its existence and set about with the space programs Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and the space shuttle developing a mission to send to this craft to find out what it is and where it has come from. More importantly, where is it going? Is our solar system its destination?
This is called a first contact story. Dr. Jane Holloway is included in the crew because NASA needs someone from Earth to figure out how to communicate with an extra-terrestrial life form if there is one on board. Jane is a specialist in reconstructing ancient languages from scratch and in her resides Earth’s best hope of communicating with an alien on the ship.
Ms Wells puts a fair bit of hard science in Fluency, which is very much to my liking. There is enough to drive the story forward in a fascinating way because all the hard science is believable, much like in Andy Weir’s The Martian. Everything in Fluency can be extrapolated from hard science going on right now in the present day. Ms. Wells wisely doesn’t overload the reader. The hard science in the book serves the plot, it is not the plot.
Ms. Wells gets right to it when the crew docks with the alien spacecraft. This is where everybody expects a “take me to your leader” moment. Instead there is nothing. They gaze in through the hatch and what they can see goes on for a good long way. As they step inside lights come on. This could be automatic and not necessarily a sign of a sentient life. Could the beings who sent this ship be totally disinterested in Earth and her inhabitants. What if they crashed there?
Then it happens.
Jane seems to go catatonic and when she wakes up is imbued with all kinds of knowledge she shouldn’t have. She says she has been in contact with one being on the ship. It helped her save two members of the crew. She says that the ship is called the Speroancora and it has a single occupant whose name is Ei’Brai.
The crew is dumbfounded and a few of them simply don’t believe her even when it’s pointed out that communicating with an alien species is why she was included on the mission. The military types draw their guns in anticipation of some sort of conflict. It comes, but not from where they were expecting it. Ei’Brai helps them out of a serious jam but still some of the crew is in doubt. Jane is learning the language and Ei’Brai is showing and telling her things that are simply overwhelming. I won’t give much more away that that.
All great science fiction starts with a strong central character and an interesting idea. There have been many first contact stories and this one ranks, in my opinion, with the very best of them. Most of the time, Earth is presented with a very aggressive race that wants something from us like in War of the Worlds, Starship Troopers, Alien, Independence Day or Contact. Ei’Brai and his race want something from the people of Earth but I can guarantee you it is nothing like what anyone on our planet would have ever expected and Dr. Jane Holloway is in the middle of it.
Fluency put a big smile on my face and I had an amazing time reading it. There are over 1100 5-star reviews on Amazon.com, if that’s the sort of thing that trips your trigger. If you like sci-fi, even if only a little, pick up Fluency. I am sure you will be glad you did.
…I wonder if Ms Jennifer Wells is related to H. G.?
From there, the story begins in earnest as Holloway contacts the alien ship's occupant. To reveal more would spoil reading the book, but suffice it to say that as the story progresses, things get more and more interesting for her and for her fellow shipmates.
By the end of "Fluency" most readers will immediately want to read more, and as other reviews have stated, there is a lot of demand for a sequel to this first book. Jennifer Foehner Wells has the makings of a superb series here, as she has created interesting characters, a plausible 'universe' for them and plenty of dramatic conflict for them to deal with not only in the first novel, but in many more books if she chooses to pen them. Here's hoping she does.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'll have to check out some of the authors additional work as well.