We all knew it would come to this. Earth is now approaching the point where it is beyond repair. War, disease and lack of resources plague mankind - and we aren't going to be able to pull through. The only option is one that pushes well beyond the boundaries of previous human exploration. The Omega Corporation have been working for years, and have finally reached the point where they are able to give us a viable option for the survival of the human race. No, no, don't be silly. They can't save all of us, but they can ensure that enough of the race make it out alive, to start future generations of humankind, on a distant world.
Everything has been building to this, it's easy really. Statistics say that there MUST be another viable planet out there. It is only a matter of time until it is found. We've got time. With cold sleeper states to get them through the light years between possible planets, they would be out 'cold' for 1500 years at a time. However, Omega have a secret, one that will change the game completely...
Latimer and the rest of the maintenance crew awake from their first sleep stage, ready to check stats after 1500 years, but they are devastated to find it has been a mere 1000. Something's wrong. With two hangers obliterated, one floating aimlessly and two attached, but questionable - the team jump to check stats, only to find that Central is down! They patch through enough to see that they have taken casualties, but there's no turning back. They are too committed, and have no idea what condition Earth is in, not to mention everything they know is long gone. So they set the bots to self repair and head to their second sleep stage, hopeful for the best.
They weren't expecting to be woken so soon. Was there another disaster? No? Perhaps it was time to check on the colonists then. They pop down the chute, ready to have a look at the havoc that has been done to their ship. With a blinding light, burned flesh and a scramble - they realise that all is not what it appears. Have the bots really started to attack? What does this mean for the colonists? And who the heck was that shadowy figure, who seemed distinctly human. Oh god, what has happened? What hasn't Omega told them? Will they survive to save the human race????
This novella was very well written. In the first chapter, I started to wonder if it was just going to be the typical - leave Earth, get hit by virus, battle to survive sci-fi thriller. Don't get me wrong, I love those, but I enjoy something different. That's EXACTLY what I got.
This novella may be a short, sweet read to gobble up, but it is packed to the brim with action, fear, science and the ultimate battle for survival. It approaches the thing all humans fear (somewhere deep inside) and turns it into your worst nightmare - AI has turned against you.
I love that the story doesn't just take place out of nowhere. The crew are actually the ones who 'begin' the process. When the ship is damaged they make the effort to give Central and the bots the command to repair themselves. That, along with the original program command - survive (humans and bot alike) at all costs - led the bots to make the ultimate decision. They took the next ~1000 years to evolve, experiment and ensure that survival was possible for both, even if this meant moulding the two together.
The crew awake without a clue, but use their intellect to try and think of a way to do what humans are best at - obliterate the ones they see as the enemy and ensure human survival. Little did they know what they were doing may have been in vain.
I love that the story takes in human nature, fear, love and the capability of something/someone to be much more than expected.
The ending was also brilliantly written. It had a fantastic twist and ended at just the right time.
OVERALL: The characters were diverse and believable, making the story very easy to get engrossed in. The story was very real, in the sense of being just past the edge of where we can see science being soon and still takes into account the worries and fears that we have about science, machines and the earth's survival. It was brilliantly written, catchy and had surprises at just the right moment. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would suggest it to all ages from YA to my older readers.
Being a novella, it is perfect for commutes, train journeys, holidays or a few evenings' reads.