Debut author Anderson presents a sci-fi novel about an orphan’s dedication to deep space exploration.
It’s 2183 and 25-year-old Daniel Walker is taking part in a ceremony on Earth, commemorating the Garuda massacre, of which he’s the only survivor. Daniel was just 10 when alien Garudas suddenly attacked a human scientific outpost on a distant planet called Enyo. Every earthling was killed in the attack except for Daniel, who was able to survive by hiding himself away in a storage tube. The massacre opened up debate on Earth as to whether humans should be venturing into deep space at all. However, Daniel, who now has multiple advanced degrees, is still determined to find more habitable planets. He takes an important position at the Allied Coalition for Exploration of Space and sets his sights on a planet called Tau Medea IV. It would take 10 years for the team to return to Earth from there, and he’ll have to overcome political and religious obstacles to even get the mission off the ground. Meanwhile, a clever, ill-tempered man named Cadmon Dhyre is infected with nanobots that make him sickly and deformed. He harbors a hatred of Daniel for getting the position that he thought was rightfully his, and this antipathy fuels his plan to crush the younger man’s aspirations. The book spins a complex tale that includes hyperspace travel, a violent encounter on Mars, and a scene set in a spruced-up future version of the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris. But although such disparate components may seem overwhelming at times, the story is well-paced throughout, effectively addressing the dangers of nanobots, for instance, without losing sight of the controversies surrounding space travel. The story could have been pruned in spots, though; readers need not, for instance, be privy to every detail of Cadmon’s scheming: “His goal here tonight was to purchase restricted lab equipment.” The story offers much excitement, but if the author had left more to readers’ imaginations, it might have resulted in a less bulky work.
A thoroughly creative tale, sometimes hampered by over-explanation.