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Gaea: Beyond the Son Hardcover – October 1, 2007
All Books, All the Time
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From the Publisher
Praise for Gaea: Beyond the Son
"An intense, fast-paced adventure awaits science fiction fans ... holds surprises and interest at the turn of every page." - Curled Up With A Good Book
"This novel was impossible to put down. With the feel of military scifi and the heart of a space opera, this debut novel has made the list of my favorites for the year." - ScifiChick.com
"Here is a debut author creating a new world, with innovative technology and a different take on science fiction. His [sic] first chapters showcase deep emotions and relationships, not just “shoot’em up” space opera ... I enjoyed reading the book. I liked meeting the characters and I hope there will be a sequel." - FantasyBookSpot.com
"Gaea: Beyond the Son, is the brilliant first offering from P.D. Gilson. Crammed full of action and with a plot played out by believable, likeable characters, it’s hard to put this book down." - SFReader.com
Gaea: Beyond the Son is the first book in the Gaea Universe series.
Top customer reviews
This book was simply dire. The characters were one-dimensional, the plot contrived, and the references to Carrier Command forced and hopelessly out of date of both it's modern remake, and the original game tie-in. Oh dear.
Doyle Gage is the poster boy for the promised Gaea future. A long serving United Earth Coalition (UEC) soldier, Doyle has been hand picked to be commander of the Gaea-02 spaceship. Its mission, to forge a new colony on a distant planet called M38 But Doyle unexpectedly finds himself alone to raise his young son and resigns his post, electing only to accompany the ship on its six month, slingshot test flight as a civilian consultant.
On returning to Earth, the crew of Gaea-02 are horrified to discover that the Asian Pacific Alliance (APA) has started all out war with the UEC. It soon becomes clear, the APA are after one thing, the Gaea ship and all its technology, so they can mount their own bid for M38.
Stranded in space, and considered fugitive by the APA, the crew of the Gaea-02 will be forced to make difficult decisions and Doyle must decide if he should return to Earth and learn the fate of his son or head for the stars and fulfill the Gaea dream.
Gaea: Beyond the Son, is the brilliant first offering from P.D. Gilson. Crammed full of action and with a plot played out by believable, likeable characters, it's hard to put this book down.
If you're looking for hard, techhy sci-fi, then this isn't for you. But if you like your SF a little on the pulpy/adventure side with a splash of military thrown in for good measure, I heartily recommend it.
The initial premise is good, the future world Gilson writes about not too much of a leap of faith given current warnings about global warming and climate change. The characters are engaging and their individual stories are slowly revealed to the reader through a series of flashbacks and hibernation dreams. Yes, it's been done before but it's executed well, bringing to the surface conflicts and motivations that draw you into the story as the book progresses.
The crew of the Gaea-02 get thrown from one situation to the next, and the action scenes are exciting and written well, yet none of the obstacles or hardships encountered seemed contrived to pad the story out, they just added to the snowballing pace of the plot.
If I had one minor criticism of Gaea: Beyond the Son, it would be the use of unexplained acronyms. Lovers of SF will have no problem, with a little bit of thought, figuring out what they all stand for, but readers new to the genre might not be familiar with them all. It's a minor issue.
Completing the package is the gorgeous cover art of Tomas Kuklik. A beautiful collage of scenes from the book, you'll find yourself constantly flipping back to view it and pictorially relive the scene you just read. They say never to judge a book by its cover but I'm afraid to say I did - and I wasn't disappointed in the least.
Of course, even though they sleep through the decades of their long flight, the war hasn't magically ended by the time they get to their destination. They're the enemy now, on an alien world where simple survival would be difficult enough. And Doyle's determined that one way or another, his flight won't end until he's reunited with his son.
The setup provides us with a great science-based adventure novel crossed with a war novel. The main characters are largely scientists, each with their own areas of specialty, allowing for some fascinating uses of technology in the desperate battles that ensue. The two sides in the war are given enough due that they aren't reduced to stereotype. The characters have their quirks, flaws, and so on, largely giving them appropriate depth.
Unfortunately, despite that depth, I could never shake the feeling that the characters were held at arm's length. I could watch and even sympathize with the tragedies that shook them, but I couldn't feel the heart-wrenching of empathy that I feel when I'm really pulled into a character's suffering or joy. Gaea definitely succeeded in the realm of page-turning action-adventure--I constantly wanted to know what happened next--but the character emotions were somehow distant. Because many events are triggered by characters reacting from emotion, this sometimes gave events a slightly `off' feeling. I'm not entirely sure what it was about the writing that created that distance, but I can't help thinking that while this was definitely a good and enjoyable story, if it had had that additional empathy, it would have been positively stunning.
Gaea: Beyond the Son is an exciting tale of heart-pounding action and suspense, and read like a gripping, scifi film. But the characterization doesn't suffer for it. Short backstories for several of the crew members, give insight and depth to the characters, and help to engage the reader. Even the antagonists were multi-dimensional.
This novel was impossible to put down. With the feel of military scifi and the heart of a space opera, this debut novel has made the list of my favorites for the year. This was more than an impressive launch release for a brand-new small press. Helios has set a high standard with a fantastic story and beautiful cover art.