(Book photos care of Amazon)
I promised the author, Stuart Aken, I’d do a review of these books. I have been putting this off for so long Stuart has probably given up hope of ever seeing a review from me. I liked what I read, but I must confess I had a difficult time reading either one. To explain what I just said I think I’ll let the author explain. “This is science fiction. It deals with a possible future; an unknown land. But the way language develops in writing can be partially predicted. The trend is, and generally has been, toward abbreviation and shortening. To give the book a ‘futuristic’ feel, I’ve adapted certain conventions. I hope you don’t find these too startling!”.
Blood Red Dust was a chore. I’m simply not used to reading a book that’s written in English that reads like a foreign language. Sorry Stuart. It was a very good read, but at the same time a frustrating one. I found myself having to re-read paragraphs to make sure I read every word. Some times Stuart would write, and a word you would normally expect to be written wouldn’t be there at all. To draw an analogy it was sort of reading English from the middle ages. It’s English, but at times it sure doesn’t read like it.
This book is based in the future. The earth is overpopulated and climate change has taken it toll. Commercial mining is already taking place on Mars, but humankind must go to the stars if they are to survive. To that end a group called The Chosen are sent to Mars to populate the planet and take some stress off of Earth. But some people want the human race to end everywhere. And I think this is where I had the most trouble with the book. If I understood the book properly these people, an off-shoot of the terrorist group ISIS, want to exterminate the entire human race. They believe they’ll become martyrs. I don’t know about you I hear about terrorists far too much on the news. And sometimes I want to escape into the pages of a book where I don’t have to worry about terrorists and being “vigilant.” I hate hearing that word. I think I’ve heard that particular word more often since 9/11 than any other.
But one thing that did impress me was the research. Science fiction is just that. But science fiction is fast becoming science fact. Ideas that were total fiction thirty years ago are now fact. And a great deal of research went into both books.
Dr. Robert Zubrin
Some of the information contained in the books was based on the work of Dr. Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society and author of many books on colonising Mars. And the research really makes these books. When I read a book(s) and it makes you think “I knew that” it makes me smile.
The author lives in England. Thank you Stuart for presenting me with a challenge.