SOJOURNERS by Ben  Davis

SOJOURNERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Davis’ debut sci-fi novel, a resilient “Afrimerican” family in the 22nd century unites to face the perils of interstellar travel and a “time-eating monster.”

The book follows the adventures of the Strong family, which was chosen by the Planetary and Corporate Coalitions for an open-ended outer-space exploration mission, due to their collective fortitude. The author drops readers into the story in medias res as aerospace engineer Barrie Strong grapples with the “impending critical overload” of her family’s “jaunt-ship”—a spacecraft fashioned from reverse-engineered enemy-alien technology. This is just the first in a maelstrom of obstacles that the Strong family must endure—at various points, for example, mind-controlled family members wage a mutiny, a monstrous alien threatens to destroy the ship, and the threat of interstellar conflict looms—and along the way, various Strongs sustain injuries and make heroic sacrifices. Sci-fi fans will enjoy the dashes of technobabble (“accretion disk jets…are a ubiquitous phenomenon believed to do everything from ridding angular momentum in the formation of a star to re-ionizing active galactic nuclei”), alien lore and terminology, flashy tech, and action-packed scenes in which the Strong family’s bond is tested. Ultimately, though, the Strongs band together (“No matter what, we’ve proven that there is still a great strength in family”). Davis also intriguingly flirts with the theme of reconciling one’s faith with advanced science (“she would also never forsake her belief in a higher power no matter how advanced humanity would become”), and more investigation of this topic might have added an intriguing dimension to the work.

A mostly satisfying outer-space romp with the power of family at its core.

Pub Date: April 4th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4917-8964-3
Page count: 190pp
Publisher: iUniverse
Program: Kirkus Indie
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