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Pulse: When Gravity Fails (Pulse Science Fiction Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B01BZDQCNE
- Publication date : February 18, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 549 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 103 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,917,716 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Never a dull moment in this imaginative science fiction thriller. As many apocalyptic and science fiction as I've read over the decades, the cause in this book is new to me, and its astrophysical soundness renders it all the more terrifying.
The author provides a variety of detailed anecdotes, with a core of continuing characters whose lives exemplify "normality" as reality shifts, changes, and cracks.
Alpha Centauri has collapsed. If it collapsed as a core collapse supernova, it would have struck Earth with an energy equivalent to 1% of Hiroshima per square meter, or about 10 tons of dynamite per square foot. That would pretty much eradicate all life, whether the blast hits us as a gravitational wave or a shockwave of debris.
In the book, the catastrophe is felt as a gravitational wave, treating everything on earth like dust on a whip. On one side of the Earth, everything is squished into the dirt as gravity apparently intensifies, and on the other side, objects begin floating and are even ripped from the moorings. Herein lies one of my problems: if the change in gravity bends metal structures and uproots trees, it seems unrealistic that anyone might survive.
My second problem lies in the brevity of the novel. At 90 pages, it feels under-written. The different characters and their plot threads hardly connect and it is difficult to see why they are all necessary, except for a few plot reasons.
My hope is that Mr. Freitas takes the novel back to the workshop and runs it through a couple more iterations, fleshing out the story, solidifying the coherence of the triple threads, and creating a more satisfying ending that currently feels more than a little rushed. The story and the premise have more potential than this incarnation has realized.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
The concept of Pulse is basically there in the title. All over the world, gravity is coming and going. At some points, it seems to fail completely; at other times, it increases. The effects are naturally disastrous, but the bigger question - what does it all mean, and where does it lead? - is what drives the story. And while Freitas has a decent enough explanation, what really matters is that we're engaged with the plot and the characters along the way.
Freitas has a big cast of characters here, ranging from a fighter pilot who crashes in Russia to a firefighter and his estranged wife, from a scientist to a reporter, and so forth. What's fascinating, though, is the way that some characters - and their chapters - are so much better written than others. The pilot, for example, is part of a gripping tale, one that mixes survival instincts, chases, and more, and it's told engaging, moves well, and never feels awkward or stilted. The reporter and the scientist, though? It's painful to read, with dialogue that feels painfully bad, descriptions that switch from past to present tense randomly, misspellings (when you can't spell the name of the star system around which your plot revolves, there's a big problem), run-ons, and more. And given that the reporter and the scientist occupy the majority of our time, that's a big problem.
Then there's the erratic plotting. Some parts of the story - say, the fighter pilot, or the firefighter's arc - are engaging and well-crafted, driven by character needs, written well, and gripping beyond the basic plot level. We care about these people, their stories are interesting, their worlds fleshed out. Others are bizarre. There's a brief interlude about a stepmother who comes right out of a fairy tale only to die in a ridiculous way that no one seems to care about at all except to laugh at. A religious meeting could provide an interesting window into how people cope with these events, but instead turns into easy jokes and jabs (and much the same could be said about the brief trip to a trailer park, which is snobby and condescending in the worst way). One character has been kicked out of NASA only to be drafted at the last minute to fly a space shuttle, which never seems to have been mentioned before. And so on.
The thing is, there's some good material in Pulse, and some stuff that shows promise. I get the feeling that Freitas wrote the core of his story, then went through and added the other chapters later, and they feel stronger - they feel like the work of a better author, one who's listening to feedback and improving in his craft. But they can't make up for the deeply flawed and weak other chapters. I'm going to check out at least one of Freitas's short stories, just to see which Freitas is the "real one"; let's hope it's the one who got me hooked into the book before I got frustrated with it.
The story has a rich cast of characters; they have depth. The reader can empathize with them as they are mostly like ourselves. The gravitational waves are the story's underpinning, but the actions and reaction of the characters are the heart of the story. This is a novel about people and catastrophe, a story with elements of sci-fi, but it is one that everyone can relate to because of the reality of the characters. Reviewed by the author of The Children's Story, About Good and Evil.
Note: gravitational waves are a reality. They were first conceptualized by Einstein in his general theory of relativity and first observed in February 2016. Scary, but scientists explain that they were very weak and no threat to us earthlings. Are they positive about the future? One must wonder.