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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.


Damocles - S.G. Redling

I’m sure I would not enjoy the experience of space exploration in a search for intelligent life, but I love the armchair travel experience of reading about it and this book is exceptionally well thought out and engrossing. When the people of Earth find evidence that human DNA may have been scattered far and wide throughout the universe, a handful of Earthlings undertake a journey through deep space hoping to make contact with humanoids who may be distant relatives. After a long time traveling in a suspended state the crew lands on the distant planet of Diodet, not without problems of course, and makes contact.


The Earth human narrator Meg is a linguist--not an engineer, pilot, or biologist--and since it’s her job to learn the language of the strange but still human resembling people they encounter, readers have a front row seat for the excitement of first contact. Sharing narration duties with Meg is Loul, a young Dideto male who is called on by his government to advise them on the unfolding situation, even though his report on the possibility of space travel had caused him to be shunted away to a menial job years ago. It’s just as fascinating seeing Earth humans through his eyes as it is learning about the language, physical biology, and culture of the Dideto people with Meg.


Amazing as it is to find other humans, it’s not all smooth sailing. Crew tensions, Dideto politics, and the quirks and superstitions of deep space travel complicate and then threaten what is already a difficult, dangerous venture with the Earthlings (or Urfers as the Dideto call them) far away from their homes and loved ones in both space and time. To me this is science fiction at its best--expansive, thought provoking, and steeped in “what if’s” inspired by science, but also strong on characterization as it explores the possibilities of human connection.