A mysterious deep space message emanating from Alpha Centauri sparks the creation of special NASA team charged with tracking down the signal.
In 2222, scientists have everything they need for humanity’s first-ever rendezvous with a bona fide extraterrestrial: Hysperion, a snazzy new spaceship with an indestructible hull; crafty gizmos built for a variety of intergalactic contingencies; and a gung ho crew that doesn’t ask a lot questions about the insanely dangerous two-year mission they’re about to undertake. Pondering the nature of the aliens she’s about to encounter seems to be the last thing on Michelle Roderick’s mind. Instead, as the indistinguishable group’s nondescript leader, she’s got man trouble at home and an interfering mother to deal with. Her old flame, John, has crept back into the picture after jilting her seven years prior, swearing this time that he really does love her and wants to marry her. On top of that, the commander of this momentous expedition to the stars has even more pressing matters to attend to—like arranging dinner with his folks. The harried commander’s crew, meanwhile, is a bickering mob of featureless personalities. The astronauts don’t care for the two military types thrown into the mix, so they spend most of their preflight preparations snapping and sniping at each other, even though interchangeable dialogue makes the conversations difficult to track. The underwritten narrative eventually travels into outer space, where a planned pit stop to collect some high-grade methane on one of Saturn’s moons becomes predictably problematic. But once there, events inexplicably shift into warp drive. First contact is raced through so rapidly that it comes off as merely a cursory event. Before the star dust can settle, casualties are neatly sliced, diced and digested in preparation for the undeveloped conclusion. Still, the author’s enthusiasm for his subjects is oddly compelling and some of the fanciful notions about creepy aliens and wacky gadgets are fun to imagine.
An interstellar adventure that struggles to make it off the launching pad.