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Mars Station Alpha by [Penner, Stephen]
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Mars Station Alpha Kindle Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Length: 250 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen Penner is an author and artist living in the Seattle area. He writes a broad variety of fiction, including thrillers, science fiction, and children's books. In addition, he enjoys drawing and painting. For information on his latest books, visit his website: http://www.stephenpenner.com

Product Details

  • File Size: 517 KB
  • Print Length: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Ring of Fire Publishing (December 1, 2011)
  • Publication Date: December 1, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006GX97JK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,461 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The premise held promise, but in the end didn't live up to it. I was irritated throughout the story by the continued references to ghosts. And what kind of crew did the rescue team have? One that bickered and ignored or insulted the captain at every turn. I also thought the ending was contrived and still haven't a clue as to why it went the way it did. Overall, a simple scifi story to while away a couple of hours and nothing more.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Notice that there are two kinds of reviews on this work: 5 star or 2 star. I was intrigued by the combination of science fiction and mystery. This crew of astronauts are the second team to visit mars. Earth has lost contact with the first team. What happened to them? Was there an accident? Did they go crazy? Did something else interfere? So that was all interesting to me. I had read the 2 star reviews and one of the biggest complaints is that the dynamics between the team members is not realistic nor what you would expect from trained astronauts who are a select few chosen not only for their talents but for their mental stability and resiliency. Those reviews tended to put me off as its a pet peeve of mine to read an 'adventure' only to find that the only reason the characters are in the situation they are in is because of stupid choices repeated over and over. For example, ever read a chase scene where the chased couple stops to argue about their relationship even while the assassins are closing in?

BUT...I read the free sample and was hooked when the team finds a mysterious word carved into a wall or something. I don't want to spoil, but that word is famously associated with another mystery and so I was hooked and paid the $2.99 for this book. Let me say that it was a page turner for me. And I do forgive some of the crazy behavior of the crew because they were faced with something unexpected, something that I assumed NASA would not train them to face. Further, I wondered if maybe this crew was chosen for some of their flaws for a reason that would come out in the end. I also speculated that some of the crew were 'faking' their behavior for some reason that would also come out in the end.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mars Station Alpha is a terrific read. The plot is interesting and intriguing, the characters are well developed, and the dialogue is both crisp and believeable. Like the author's Professor Barrister mystery series, Mars Station Alpha is based on sound science. It's a pleasure to read a novel that is both intelligent and well-written.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Real detective stories are hard to write, but it's almost impossible for most writers of mystery or science fiction to combine the two genres. Asimov was a notable exception. Penner may be the next Asimov! The book is a great read, real mystery in a realistic future world with very human characters.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having some difficulty rating this sci fi mystery thriller. A number of reviewers called the characters unbelievable, because through the book's second half the characters don't react like trained astronauts. But hey, the situation they're in isn't exactly one they'd been trained to handle, and so I found their reactions to be not all that far off the mark. [SPOILER ALERT] Does NASA train astronauts on how to handle a mysteriously disappearing body, one of their own, from an abandoned space station? Didn't think so. [END SPOILER] Different stresses strike different people in different ways, and not even Science can predict human behavior when the situation takes what looks like a supernatural turn south.

Yeah, I skimmed some of the ghost chatter. But out of seven astronauts, it's not unbelievable that one of them has a thing for ghosts, and then proceeds to drive everyone else nutty with his fascination.

The book's designed like a good tight thriller, with short chapters ending in cliffhangers and snappy breaks. I just kept turning the page, again and again, because I had to see what happened next. So the book fulfilled the primary role of a thriller and I enjoyed that a lot.

But the ending was rushed and the romance leans into cheesy. The resolution does depend on a plot twist I have trouble buying [SPOILER ALERT] (a no-longer-dying man rising unseen from his bed to save the hero). The solution is believable when revealed, as much as a murder mystery on Mars can be believable, but I was disappointed that it wasn't an Evil Martian Spirit. That would have been cool. [END SPOILER]

So it's not the best I've ever read but nor is it the worst, not by a long shot. I'd definitely read the author's work again. So we'll call this one 3.5 stars and rate it as 4 stars, giving weight to the page-turning throughout. Hey, that takes work and not many authors achieve it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am sort of torn with this book. On one hand it was a real page turner and held my interest. On the other hand, there were a lot of parts in the book I found not really believable. For example in the space program they really do look into things like personality profiles and such insuring that the most stable folks possible will be selected, and that astronauts will work well in a group together. This didn't seem to happen and to be blunt I find it hard to believe in the future that it would not still be the case, even more so for an extended mission to Mars. Also, the story had a lot of other less believable events that kind of stretched my suspension of disbelief. As I said, I am torn. For light reading, I found it enjoyable up until the end. The mystery kept me reading, but the resolution of the mystery left me just not totally buying the resolution. I want to go on and point out a lot of what I am talking about piece by piece, but I also don't want to spoil the book for anyone that might want to pick it up. I must say, I don't regret purchasing it. I was a bit disappointed in it, it just seemed to hold a lot more promise.
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