Friday, March 6, 2015

Fluency


I read a fair bit, but I don't have an extensive library.  Said another way:  I tend to reread my favorite series every few years, and that scratches my "reading" itch and I don't have more time to pick up new series.  I've talked before about a couple of other scifi series that I've read.

I don't much like disposable pulp fiction.  I like deeper stuff, with a little more character development.  I like near-future scifi stuff, in that awkward phase of (assumed) human development where we're still bound to the solar system and warp drives and such haven't been invented yet.  I like having a culture that's somewhat familiar, and having time, distance, and technology a limiting factor in the storytelling (compared to say, Mr. Data or Mr. Worf saving the day once again by shooting a tachyon beam out of the main deflector, ugh.).

Anyway, I picked up Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells on Amazon last week.  It's a quick read - I think I did it in 3 sessions.  At face value it checks a lot of my boxes - near future, our solar system, and not a straight-to-paperback format.

It's a scifi tale set basically in present day, based in and around a derelict alien ship that's been found in our asteroid belt.  The Americans find the ship in the 1960s and base their entire NASA program around the goal of sending a secret mission to investigate the thing.  There's references to the UFO that crashed at Roswell, which brings a little bit of X-Files vibe to the start of the book.

I enjoy the writing style; each character has his own vocabulary and way of thinking.  As the point of view shifts between the two main players, we get a good deal of character development.  Some of the other crew seems a little more cardboard and less fleshed out, but less so than some of the pulp sci-fi that's out there.

Much of the story is groundwork and background as the mystery surrounds the ship unfolds.  There will no doubt be another book (or five) to follow.

It's an aggressive story, in terms of the amount of story that there is to cover, written in a no-nonsense fast paced manner.  Some bits felt a little rushed and I wished that some parts would have been developed a little more.  It could have been easily double the length, and I'd have read every bit of it.

So, if you need a good distraction as Winter continues to taunt us, I think it's worth the time and effort to track down a copy.

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