The first quarter of an SF book. It’s available for free at Amazon.

Publication year: 2017
Format: ebook
Publisher: Epic Journeys entertainment
Page count: 133

This is labeled as book 1 and a science fiction thriller. But it’s neither. It’s not a complete book; instead it’s the beginning of a story. It’s also not a thriller because, again, it’s the start of a story. But I enjoyed this story taster.

The story starts with a very tense situation: astronauts Brent Carlson and Calvin Williams are rescuing people from the first commercial space station, the Pisces III. Unfortunately, someone dies and because of that the plans for a manned Mars mission are put on hold.

However, Brent and his wife Shayla manage to convince the UN to continue the mission which requires co-operation from all nations. Some mysterious people are against the mission and set plans into motion to stop it.

Then we jump ahead four years. Shayla is dead and Brent has lost his will to live. He’s convinced that she was murdered but no evidence of foul play was found. NASA’s chief Mike Johnson tries to convince Brent to go on a tour to speak for the mission and eventually, Brent agrees. The mission is going to happen, and now Brent and Mike go on a tour around the world to see the astronauts who will go.

I enjoyed this beginning of a story. For the most part, it’s moves along briskly. Because there’s no conclusion as such, a lot of questions are raised but not answered. The writing style isn’t complex.

Brent was a child prodigy in astrophysics and in dangerous situations, he can calculate odds and deduce outcomes really quickly. He’s also a pretty nice guy, at least at the beginning of the novella. However, after his beloved wife’s death he becomes more cynical and in convinced that there are conspiracies around him. Even his old friends don’t trust him anymore. There are a couple of chapters from others’ point-of-view, but mostly from Brent’s. If Brent was a female character, readers would be calling her a Mary Sue. I don’t have anything against people like that and in space you have to very competent to succeed and especially to excel, as Brent has done.

We don’t see much of the other characters. I’m not sure why anyone would want to stop humans from going to Mars, but someone does seem determined to undermine the effort.