In Martin’s collection of science-fiction stories, Lt. Jana Maines steers merchant ships of the Space Trading Commission through the fourth dimension, known as n-Space.
When Maines spots a three centuries’ old derelict—a forgotten spaceship—in deep space, she convinces her captain to give approval for an exploration mission. Good looks aside, Maines’ charisma and unyielding fortitude are a byproduct of her desire to financially assist her family on the farming planet of Ceres. In most cases, Maines’ obdurate nature lands her in precarious situations, but her self-confidence never wavers. A strong-willed female protagonist coupled with a realistic, developed portrayal of the fourth dimension is one of Martin’s strengths, and his intriguing storyline, illustrations and innate ability to make foreign objects and places seem familiar accentuate the quality of his work. Integrating short stories, poetry and songs into Maines’ odyssey, Martin provides insight into the lieutenant’s purpose behind each mission, her life on Ceres with her family and her domineering father. Though a work of science fiction, Martin’s focus transcends spaceships and deep-space transports; he explores the relationship between the lieutenant and her daunting, sometimes overbearing captains (who bear a strong resemblance to Maines’ father), religious philosophy on the planet of Tachon and a light romance on Oceanus. However, Maines’ attachment to her family and the pangs of loneliness permeate every story. Whether Maines is standing beside a dying woman on an ancient derelict in deep space, battling with a prophet who claims himself as God or trying to save millions of fish eggs crucial for the survival of a planet, Martin connects her exploits to her family. Amid the various side stories, readers may find it easy to skim over Martin’s invented words and numerous technical and physics references to explain n-Space. To compensate, the author includes an in-depth glossary and notes at the end to enhance understanding of n-Space. While Maines’ internal dialogue becomes excessive at points, this is a minor point considering the myriad positives the book offers.
Martin’s varied literary structure and assimilation of human emotions, fused with a fast-paced, imaginative storyline and realistic science fiction will leave audiences marveling over Maines’ adventures in n-Space.