2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant cover design, pity about the story,
This review is from: Damocles (Paperback)
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At the start of the novel, in just a single paragraph, we learn that the faster than light spaceship 'Damocles' is presently following directions received seven years ago, in an unknown language, from an ancient race that had apparently brought humanity into existence. The spaceship's destination is less than clear.
Ms Redling would, I suspect, have vastly improved the opening of her story had she read Carl Sagan's brilliant sci-fi novel Contact.
Fortunately, 'Damocles' is better informed than the six crew members and, as the spaceship drops into orbit around a planet, they are automatically revived from hibernation. Drones are launched and the crew discover that the planet is inhabited by sentient beings.
On page 36 they come face-to-face with the inhabitants of the planet Didet for the first time but, in order to talk to them, they then spend 300 pages busily developing an extremely inefficient computer-based translation system. By that time they've also deduced - mainly from observation - that the Dideto are moderately advanced (not to Earth's level) and have both weapons and a basic communication technology. Spaceflight has never been developed nor, even though there's a lot of sea around, has shipbuilding.
Unfortunately Ms Redling fails to explore these aspects of the Dideto civilisation and, other than from a few superficial comments, we learn little about their social structure.
We do, however, discover that the journey has virtually exhausted the power source of the 'Damocles'. But, just as the crew are about to resign themselves to being stranded on the planet, they suddenly find the critical silicate from which they can recharge whatever it is that needs recharging. The details of that particular discovery stretched my credulity beyond a normally extremely elastic breaking point.
During the final half-dozen pages, just before the crew strap themselves into their shuttle and rendezvous with the spaceship, we're told how, years ago on Earth, the twin sister of one of the crew members fell down a well and, a few weeks later, died...
Then, on the very last page and as the crew slip back into hibernation, the 'Damocles' leaves orbit and, according to Ms Redling, hurtles off into the blackness of space.
Where are they going? What happens next? What happens to the Dideto?
You may, like many others, enjoy the book. Unfortunately I didn't.