In Logsdon’s sci-fi debut, the last surviving member of a deep-space research crew attempts to find signs of life in the universe.
Lt. Barrett Hannum is the navigator of the United World Space ship the Odysseus, a research vessel whose crew explores the galaxy in search of potential mineral caches, planetary colonization candidates, and, above all else, intelligent life. When a massive derelict spacecraft is found orbiting a backwater planet, the headstrong commander of the Odysseus—who desperately wants to be the first human to find intelligent life—ignores safety precautions and decides to attempt to board the giant craft, which is approximately 71 kilometers long. As Hannum readies himself to board the obviously alien ship, something attacks the Odysseus and Hannum loses consciousness. When he awakes, he is the only crew member left alive on the ship, which has been inexplicably relocated deep inside a cavern. The chamber contains hundreds of alien spacecraft, which have been presumably procured in the same way as Odysseus. With hundreds of robotic “crawlers” swarming over and through the ship, Hannum—with help from the ship’s main artificial intelligence, Aeon, must survive long enough to unravel the mystery surrounding the orbiting derelict and the massive collection of ships. The novel’s first half is fascinating and fast-paced, and the prose is well-written throughout. Once Hannum reaches relative safety, however, the action fizzles. His attempts to communicate with another imprisoned alien ship and to locate potential surviving members of his crew are interesting, but the slow pacing—coupled with the long periods of inactivity from Hannum (he explores virtually through cloaked pods)—drain the novel’s energy.
Initially promising sci-fi laid low by dull stretches and an unsatisfying ending.