Clarke (Zombies! Zombies!, 2012) and Hocker’s imaginative sci-fi quest takes its characters far into the celestial unknown.
When an alien spacecraft appears to be mining the moon, the people of Earth react by sending six people to investigate. The crew includes only one astronaut but several academics, including archaeologist Jason Hauptman, who the government hopes will be useful in interpreting alien communications because he co-authored a book on the Mayan language. The crew finds and enters the empty alien mining craft, but they embark on a much bigger mission than planned when the craft brings them back to its mother ship far, far away. Stranded in a massive alien ship, deep in an unrecognizable galaxy, the crewmembers have only each other and limited supplies to depend on. Embracing the tradition of Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov, the story soon advances beyond its simple humans-versus-aliens setup with thoughtful questions about what constitutes a conscious being. A few details may be distracting; for example, the entire security force for a potentially dangerous space mission consists of just two enlisted men, a Marine private and sergeant. At one point, the authors describe a ship as “reminiscent of the space station in 2001: A Space Odyssey,” which may strike some readers as overly obvious homage. Overall, however, the authors have created a fantastic but believable fictional universe—a mix of cold-abyss sci-fi and fun 1950s rocket pulp.
An engaging novel that will likely satisfy sci-fi fans looking for an exciting tale of intergalactic adventure.