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Damocles [Kindle Edition]

S. G. Redling
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When Earth is rocked by evidence that extraterrestrials may have seeded human DNA throughout the universe, a one-way expedition into deep space is mounted to uncover the truth. What linguist Meg Dupris and her crewmates aboard the Earth ship Damocles discover on Didet—a planet bathed in the near-eternal daylight of seven suns—is a humanoid race with a different language, a different look, and a surprisingly similar society.

But here, it’s the “Earthers” who are the extraterrestrial invaders, and it’s up to Meg—a woman haunted by tragedy and obsessed with the power of communication—to find the key to establishing trust between the natives and the newcomers. In Loul Pell, a young Dideto male thrust into the forefront of the historic event, Meg finds an unexpected kindred spirit, and undertakes an extraordinary journey of discovery, friendship, and life-altering knowledge.

Told from both sides of a monumental encounter, Damocles is a compelling novel about man’s first contact with an extraterrestrial race.

Product Description

About the Author

S.G. Redling parlayed her degree in English from Georgetown University into various careers including waitress, monument tour guide, sheepskin packer, and radio host. She has leapt from a plane and a moving train, gotten lost in Istanbul and locked in the dining car of a midnight train through the Carpathians. She currently lives in Huntington, West Virginia, and is also the author of the thriller Flowertown.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1648 KB
  • Print Length: 334 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 161109965X
  • Publisher: 47North (28 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #42,637 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Scenario 4 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Damocles starts very strongly and captures the reader's attention from the first few pages. A group of six people from Earth have been sent on a mission to discover planets with inhabitants who share some common ancestry with humans. Eventually they arrive at Didet, where they quickly establish some rapport with the local populace, the Dideto who are clearly fascinated with the `Urfers' (Earthers).

There are some very interesting aspects to this story. It is alternatively told from the perspective of Meg, the linguistics expert from the mission and Loul, one of the Dideto who has a particular interest in aliens and correctly forecast their arrival to apparent derision. These two establish quite a close relationship and Loul relates his feelings on meeting this strange alien with her elongated limbs and face and large, watery eyes. It is quite a departure for humans are viewed as and described as the, possibly hostile and certainly weird aliens.

However, following the powerful first couple of chapters, the story does move at a very sedate pace for quite a while as the two races, who have no common language, work by trial and error to establish some sort of method of communicating. It does seem rather surprising that Earth, apparently now so advanced, has not worked out a more efficient protocol for establishing language. The main interest is in the charm of the interaction between Meg and Loul, who clearly have a lot of empathetic response to each other, without being able to verbally express it. Later the story does gather a little pace with the result that the final segment is probably more interesting than what preceded it.

All in all a story which involves the reader, but which, perhaps, does not live up to its initial promise. However, it is an interesting scenario and a worthwhile read.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To boldy go... 23 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There's precious little pure SF being written these days, so when I understood that Damocles wasn't supernatural fantasy or war games in space, I grabbed it. Within the first 100 pages it felt like a return to old times, as it revisits many of the first contact themes so brilliantly realised by Niven and Pournelle (Footfall) or CJ Cherryh (Foreigner: 10th Anniversary Edition (Foreigner Universe Books)). In fact, one of the characters in Damocles is named Pell, and I can't help wondering if that's a tip of the hat to CJ...

There's a lot to like about Damocles, but most of the good start is stacked up at the start. There's a credible scenario for humans seeking interstellar contact, and a practical spacecraft which sounds up to the job with plenty of nifty concepts like its living walls and power crystal (which is just as bit as cranky as the dilithium crystals of the original Enterprise...). Sadly, we don't get to spend too much time in space before the crew have arrived at one of their target planets, which is populated by people-a-bit-like-us, only wider and slower, who happen to be at a similar stage of evolution with an internet, graphic comics and underachieving, lovestruck geeks.
Then the pace slows down quite a bit as we meander through the gradual process of establishing communication, learning language, tripping up over cultural differences and forming meaningful relationships across the biggest barrier imaginable.
The story is told from two perspectives, one character from each species, sometimes replaying scenes from each angle. The segments are none too long and the writing is easily accessible.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing 15 Feb. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What started out as an interesting premise slowly, (and I mean slowly!) got bogged down in the process of two peoples trying to communicate. For the first time in a very long time I abandoned a book before I'd read less than half of it. I just got to the stage where I could no longer bear to wait for the story to develop beyond all the communication issues.

Add to this the fact that Didet's society came across as some kind of remote US colony, so similar was the culture, suspension of disbelief was stretched to snapping point. It smacked of lazy writing, which is a shame when the premise was such an intriguing one.

I don't very often leave such a negative review but I have to say that sadly I'm just glad I bought this via an offer because I'd have been very annoyed if I'd spent more than 99p on it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Falls flat shortly after a fantastic start 30 Jun. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has a fantastic beginning, and a great concept: What if we land on a foreign planet (Dideto) and WE become the invading alien threat? It was also interesting to see the story being told from both sides: from Meg's point of view (Earth woman), and Loul's (Dideto man).

Unfortunately however, the story falls flat shortly after the landing. First of all, many of the events seem to be unlikely. For example, the main contact for their planet is just the first guy in the crowd (Loul) that stumbles in front of the visitors; and it seems the authorities had no other plan for establishing contact.

After that, the story just descends into a weird relationship between Loul and Meg. They can't talk with each other properly, so for the majority of the book you have to drudge through pages and pages of a broken language they've constructed. Most of the time they're just reassuring each other how much they like each other. I found it annoying, childish, and odd. Here's an example: ' "Yes. Okay. Meg talk.." She turned to Loul. "Loul talk this. This. This is who? Talk this." ' Or here's another: "Meg here. Loul take Meg to see Didet. To see Dideto, Loul Dideto. Is good/okay very good/okay in Didet. Very..." This is basically how half of the book goes.

I found the native population to be quite boring. They are described as short, hairy people with tiny beady eyes, bad hearing, bad sight, short arms and legs that make them clumsy, and small fingers that can't be used to grasp items efficiently (so how did they build their cities?!). In summary they are pretty much inferior in every way. There was nothing about them that I found interesting or appealing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Damocles
The first time a science fiction book has held me, other than Dr Who. I liked it. Well written. Fine.
Published 10 days ago by Prudence
2.0 out of 5 stars A step too far...
First contact novels, with us as the visitors is a good premise and Redling deserves credit for that. What kills off this novel is the poor execution of the aliens. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Oolong
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read. I loved the book
Excellent read.
I loved the book, a great idea and unique perspective from the point of view of the Alien contact. Read more
Published 1 month ago by CjW
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this Book
A refreshingly new spin on 'alien' contact. Had me hooked pretty well from the start. I liked the philosophy and the way the story panned out. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Laichmoray Loon
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring communication and trust
Some reviewers have complained that the plot stretches credulity too far. But let's face it - how many SF books (even most of those set in the near-future) don't require a bit of a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by indigodreamer
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story
Would have got 5 star except for the fact that I thought the characters fell out of character and there were some grammatical and spelling errors
Published 1 month ago by stuart jinks
4.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of Sci-Fi
The most realistic description of a first contact scenario with an educated alien race I've ever read. It is beautifully told and includes the perspectives of both sides. Read more
Published 1 month ago by 7alidzy
4.0 out of 5 stars Didn't want it to end.
This story wasn't about spaceship s or aliens. It was about people. I read it in one sitting and only put it down when I finished it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Scribe
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
delivered on time
Published 2 months ago by Stuart Ovington
3.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting story line and character perspective and I imagine...
Very interesting story line and character perspective and I imagine not far off the probable scenario science wise.
But a bit slow moving and a slow read for me.
Published 2 months ago by Robert Scarrott
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