Sage Walker: “The Man in the Tree” (c) 2017
Gripping science fiction mystery set in the 23rd century.
Aboard a generation ship: a complex web of human nature, crime, law, and justice.
The generation ship “Kybele” is a hollowed-out asteroid in near-Earth space, ready for its 200-year journey to a nearby star. The ship is home for 30,000 colonists, to start a new settlement in space as Earth struggles with ecological disasters.
The last shuttle to Earth is due to arrive soon, for contract workers to return to Earth; and for people who do not meet the requirements for the journey or the future colony.
The decision of who stays on the “Kybele” or not, is made by the ship’s CEOs of the Navigation Security Services; Biosystems; and System Supports; and by Helt Borresen.
Helt is a security officer and an Incident Analyst. His responsibilities include working with all the CEOs. His ability to work with different people, and to bring different people to work together is critical in resolving issues of conflicts, laws, and rules aboard the ship.
A navigation engineer Charles (Cash) Ryan is on a 3-year contract and is scheduled to return to Earth. Just before the last shuttle to Earth arrives, Ryan is found dead in a pine tree. A pine branch has pierced through him cutting a vital artery.
It is unclear whether Ryan’s death is murder or suicide, or accident. Ryan seems to have known very few people, beyond his coworkers. Ryan may have been thrown off the Tower platform into the pine forest below.
Elena Maury is observed to be the first person to emerge from the Tower elevator. A geneticist, physician and pathologist, she has been on board the ship for 10 years. She and Ryan had a long-ago affair when they were students at MIT.
Elena is a primary suspect in the murder of Ryan. Helt falls in love with Elena. He knows she must prove her innocence or she will be shipped back to Earth.
At the end of the novel: Helt becomes the first “Lawspeaker” on Kybele, reflecting differences in life on Earth vs. life on a generation ship on its way to a new world.
Tim Pratt’s “The Wrong Stars” is Book 1 of “The Axiom Series.”
Tim Pratt: The Wrong Stars (c) 2017.
Very imaginative and fast-paced space opera.
Capt. Callie (Kalea) Machedo is an experienced and trained investigator, doing freelance contract security work for the Trans-Neptunian Authority. Her work includes investigating and recovering wrecked and abandoned spacecraft.
Callie is courageous, with a limitless curiosity about deep space, taking on unexpected challenges and dangers.
Her crew of five aboard the “White Raven”, a fast freighter, consists of:
Stephen Baros — The ship’s doctor & CEO.
The ship’s mind, an AI, called “Shall” by the crew. His “AI mind” is based on a scanned human mind as a template.
Ashok — engineer; augmented; cyborg.
Drake — pilot;
Janice – navigator; communications.
The Liars are an alien diaspora spread across the galaxy. Humanity has known the Liars for about 300 years. The Liars’ greatly advanced technology revives Earth from ecological catastrophes. The Liars are evasive and deceitful about the origins and development of their technology but it becomes the key to human expansion into deep space:
The Liars provide activators that open undetectable wormholes or bridgeheads in other dimensions. Bridgeheads allow extremely fast travel across vast spaces. And humans have now spread to 29 solar systems.
Callie and her crew find a wrecked spacecraft, “Anjou”, in the Trans Neptunian space. The ship is 500 years old -from the 22nd century with nuclear propulsion drives and predates Earth’s contacts with the Liars. One of the cryopods still has a crew member in it. Callie and her crew revive Dr. Elena Oh. She tells them of a horrific encounter with an immense alien structure beyond the solar system.
The Anjou’s hull, navigation system, and engines show strange modifications. The White Raven crew finds a new type of bridgehead generator aboard the Anjou: one that is self-activated and creates wormholes for very fast travel from anywhere to anywhere in space!
The Liars are terrified and flee from the trans-Neptunian space when they learn about the new type of bridgehead generator. Aboard the White Raven, a Liar stowaway, Lantern, tells Callie and her crew of a very grave danger: An ancient alien race, the Axioms, powerful, with incredibly advanced technology. The new bridgehead generator that Callie and her crew found is an Axiom technology.
The alien structure from which Elena and the Anjou barely escaped is an abandoned Axiom station. A long time ago, The Axioms enslaved the Liars, then suddenly vanished, abandoning their advanced tech and stations. Somehow, the Axioms are still able to exert control and kill, the Liars or anyone who “trespasses” into their space.
Callie is determined to find the Axioms. She and her crew, together with Elena and the Liar Lantern, head first for the Axiom Station, to rescue the Anjou crew.
Twists & turns escalate exponentially as Callie and her team enter the Axiom Station…