Strange novel. Great premise, decent characters, tons of science, great imagination, but ultimately it didn't really add up, and the ending was an unexpected fizzle. To make a long story short: Life on earth has advanced significantly. We're now profitably mining Jupiter's moon Europa. We have space suits that are out-of-this-world (!) advanced. They walk for you, run for you, feed you and carry out extensive medical repairs on you when you're injured. They fight for you while they repair you. They continue to work, walk, run, repair even when you're exhausted/half-dead. They're highly intelligent. They analyse, they compute, they code, hack, learn, advise. They interface with personal mem files, with AI, with anything.
Which is to say, we've come a long way, baby. And so what happens when life is discovered on Europa? Well, it appears we ain't so advanced after all. We send in an advanced team of three highly intelligent scientists, picked from millions of candidates, who land, immediately circumvent orders, get into trouble and then the whole first contact thing kind of goes kablooey.
It was a bit hard to swallow, frankly. The advanced team is followed by a few other teams with more administrators, techies, etc., from several space agencies, most notably from Europe and Brazil, and they spend time spying on each other, hacking each other's systems, creating and breaking alliances, disobeying orders, goofing with the suits back on earth, profiting from the nine-minute communications delay with home, etc. It's actually good reading, but it just isn't very believable. The greatest event in history - the finding of life on another planet/moon - and all we do is screw up in a very amateurish way. I can understand we have to screw up some - it's a novel, after all, and it needs drama - but the screwing up is so ridiculously goofy. Management and administration of this first contact is beyond abysmal, and I can't believe it's carried out by the same wizards who created those unbelievable space suits. To create a space suit of that nature would not require just good tech, but also amazing process, development, management and QA skills. Those skills are utterly missing in the actions of the groups on Europa, and in the actions of their bosses on earth. Amateurs like this could never have mounted mining operations to Europa, or invented a space suit that would repair your ruined eyeball while it fed you, fought off an attack and began analysing and translating the attacker's sonic and physical language.
Nonetheless, the great science and mecha and all the wizardry and the drama kept the thing going until *poof* -- it simply ended. I read it on Kindle, and at the 94% mark, the heroes scored a major victory and were celebrating. I figured a major twist was coming, something that would cut their celebration short. I went to the next page and saw the words `The End'! My jaw dropped. It simply ended. The antagonists are not heard from again. I realize there's a sequel, and maybe it'll be a series, but this sort of thing is just way below Carlson. He's a real author, not some indie, and he has to end his novel properly. The final six percent of the book is acknowledgements, thanks, and a short story.
Weird. And I don't understand why someone like Carlson is charging a couple bucks for his work, as though it's an indie effort. Publishing is becoming weird.
Anyway, three stars for the science and the premise and pretty good action, but I'm not going to read the sequel. And I'd recommend you read his Plague Year series instead. Far superior.
- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 9 hours and 16 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Jeff Carlson
- Audible.com Release Date: June 28, 2013
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English, English
- ASIN: B00DP4YIFG
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,784 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?