Friday, June 15, 2007

Fifth Man

Title: The Fifth Man

Series: Sequel to Oxygen

Authors: John B. Olson & Randall Ingermanson

Genre: Adult Near Future Science Fiction

Chapter One of The Fifth Man:

Water.Valkerie Jansen forced one foot in front of the other, a weary survivor on a death march across a dry and barren planet. Water. Valkerie’s soul cried out for it. A patch of frost. A dark stain in the dust. Subterranean ice…

Dray dust coated her visor-red streaks across a blur of powder-white scuffs. The grit was everywhere. Valkerie could taste it, acrid and dry in the filtered air she breathed. She could feel it grinding in the joints of her EVA suit, eating deeper and deeper into the fragile seals that stood between her and death.

She plodded to the edge of a deep canyon and scanned the rocky walls below. Heavily shadowed grooves started at a point a hundred meters below her and snaked their way down the rocky walls, dividing into smaller and smaller subbranches. Weeping fissures. They looked so promising, so much like erosion gullies back on earth. But where was the water? She and Lex had searched hundreds of fissures, but they were all dry. Dry as…the rest of Mars.

Life-threatening disasters strike four astronauts on Mars--with no explanation.

The Writing: As before with Oxygen, The Fifth Man is strong, clean writing with a fast-paced plot that resembles a thriller more than your typical science-fiction book. And unlike Oxygen there’s no slow-down in the middle. The plot quickly accelerates to full-speed by the end of first chapter and doesn’t let up until the last page.

The Story: The story is challenging, daring the readers to think beyond the box concerning creation and ethics, and once more not all the questions raised will be answered by the end.

Summary: As with Oxygen, The Fifth Man is an entertaining and thought-provoking book, well-written, able to be enjoyed by teens and adults alike.

Rating: 4.3 of 5

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