Ok. I’m done with this book. I’m just over 50% of the way and I just can’t do it anymore. Again about 10% of the way in and I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy it but it at least had quotation marks. You deserve a complete analysis of a book, not just part of it. So I soldiered on, but no more. The soldiers have been massacred and those few survivors are scarred and broken.
Series: The Exodus Trilogy; Book 1
Author: Andreas Christensen
Genre: Fiction w/ a touch of bastardized science
ROTS Setting: CU, Near Future, Pre-Apocalyptic, Science-less Science Fiction
Synopsis: Plot points disguised as science. Science raped, eviscerated, and then stood up as a warning to logic and reason. (In all seriousness, a rogue planet atomizes Mars before lazily strolling toward Earth. America is able to keep the knowledge secret for years while they build a spaceship to colonize another planet 40 light years away……because that it the safest course of action with the greatest probability of success.)
Recommendation: Don’t. Just don’t.
Spoilers….Hahaha….More like a Public Service Announcement
First, I’m not considering this a FAIL because I got over halfway. Also, it is clear at this point that the problems weren’t isolated events but show a clear lack of skill, knowledge or understanding that is unlikely to change or improve in the latter half of the book. (Let alone the books that are built off this one.)
Now that I’ve made that clear we can begin in earnest.
The writing style is….odd. I’m inclined to believe that this was written as a series of blog posts, where each section is a complete and separate whole. In that medium it probably wouldn’t have been so….odd. There is lots of explaining. Really. Lots and lots of explanations with little to no…..anything else. There’s a smattering of dialog, but those are mostly presentations or verbal explanations. The real unicorn is any type of action. This leads to a dull and often zombie-level-boring experience. It’s also difficult to keep track of characters and makes it nearly impossible to develop any sort of relationship with them. Again, the characters aren’t anything more than literal vehicles to explain plot points and there by advance the storyline. I know there is a rich dude who sits in meetings all day, the nation security advisor who is plotting some convoluted freedom movement, and a newly graduated girl who is the daughter of the rich dude……I may have just developed the characters more than the author….my bad.
What’s the plotline? How about I just repeat what I already wrote.
A rogue planet atomizes Mars before lazily strolling toward Earth. America is able to keep the knowledge secret for years while they build a spaceship to colonize another planet 40 light years away……because that it the safest course of action with the greatest probability of success.
There you go. That’s the plot. It’s not too bad right? Well, lets look at some of the details.
This rogue planet wasn’t noticed until it was somewhere around Jupiter’s orbit. It took 4 days for them to figure out what it was. A week after being noticed (3 days after figuring out what it was) it hits Mars. Now assuming that it took the shorts route to cross that distance it would have been traveling in excess of 910 km/s. Or 910,000 meters a second. That put it traveling twice that of solar winds (around 400km/s) and far exceeds that of any other object in our solar system. (Something like 617.5km/s is the maximum speed before an object is hurled out of the solar system and that’s at the surface of the sun where the maximum would be needed. Further out the escape velocity is much less. The math is beyond me but the point stands, this is VERY fast.)
Now I’d like to share a quote from the book. This is from the initial briefing of White House senior staff.
“Mars was completely destroyed by the impact, and the rogue planet lost most of its mass, except this large rock about a hundred kilometers in diameter.”
So an object 6,779 km in diameter was reduced to pieces smaller than 100 kilometers. Also, the rogue planet was never given a size but it would have needed to be larger than 2000 km in diameter for it to have been considered a “planet.” Then the “large rock” is still called a planet, but given the name “Devastator.” How cute.
It is then explained that it will take about 12 years for that big rock to hit Earth. It is even emphasized that it is 10 times the diameter of the one what wiped out the dinosaurs (approximately 10km in diameter). Until then, every 4 years they could expect strange weather patterns (from dust settling in the upper atmosphere) and small meteor impacts that could disrupt society……..Smaller, like a tenth the size of the big one? I wonder how many pieces of rock around 10km in diameter you could make from two planets? And what happened to all that insane velocity? Which direction was the impact? These are important aspects that would greatly affect how the debris would act. Instead it’s just summarized as “plot point” and swept under the rug.
Now assuming all that happened exactly as intended, how was this thing kept secret for years? Oh sure, you can totally cover-up a planet being vaporized even though it’s visible to the naked eye and you can begin to pick out details with fairly low level optical gear. America might have turned into a totalitarian government but there would still be backyard astronomers, the internet and free speech in the rest of “Western Society.” And it’s hard to silence something on the internet when the evidence is clearly visible in the night sky and anyone with a good pair of binoculars could verify themselves.
But….but, there was a failed Mars colony so no one cares about space anymore.
Just because a colony on Mars failed doesn’t mean people would stop exploring the universe…..it’s kind of a big deal. (Sort of the biggest deal, literally) I’d also like to stress that “colony” is different from manned exploration and a colony of Venus might actually be easier than Mars. Just sayin’.
And while were on the topic, WHAT HAPPENED THAT WAS SO BAD THAT MADE EVERYONE SCARED TO LOOK UP? Seriously, it’s one of 3 main facets of the entire story and it’s never explained. (1. Rouge planet destroys Mars and Earth is next. 2. Mars colony was a mysterious disaster killing all space based endeavors……in America and American society. 3. The USA has turned into a totalitarian government.)
This quote is in regards to a study done in 2009. It’s being used to explain why binary star systems weren’t ruled out as possible destinations for the colony ship.
“The study showed that Centauri A and B, having a distance of at least eleven AU, had stable habitable zones. This of course meant that planets within those zones could perhaps support life. Actually, the results showed that planets within a distance of three AU of either star could have stable orbits.”
This is a bit nitpicky, but stable habitable zones and stable orbits aren’t the same thing. The last sentence should have read, “The results also showed….” or “However, the results also showed….” or “Additionally, the results showed….” The word “actually” in this instance means, “correction” and while that is a small grammatical mistake, it changes the context of the science being discussed.
Now for the Grandaddy. The straw that broke the camels back. The nail in the coffin. The Darwin Award for the human race as a whole.
“I’ve already told you, we found the orbits of planets around 55 Cancri to be stable, simply put. And what’s more we found every basic element that is needed to support life on one of the planets. Not just elements but the general geological features as well. It has an atmosphere, possibly not very different from our own, although it is impossible to be certain at this time. We expect there to be differences, but it is really impossible to know the exact composition from this distance. It seems promising though, and definitely good enough to protect colonists from radiation and so forth. The destination planet is the fifth one out from the primary, and it has been given the name [REDACTED]. And as science moves forward, so does the equipment. Just recently we’ve been able to conduct a spectral of the light emitted from [REDACTED] itself, and the findings were, to say the least, interesting … We found evidence of photosynthesis. You all know what the means. Ladies and gentlemen, we found life.”
Emphasis mine, and I redacted the planet name to keep the spoilers down a bit. This is a scientist filling in a group of those who could potentially be on the colony ship.
It’s impressive that 62 years in the future we can make out the general geological features of a planet 40 light years away. And yet we can’t tell the exact makeup of it’s atmosphere. Just seeing exoplanets is extremely difficult. Everything has to be exactly right for it to work. The smaller the object, the hard it is to see. Also since planets don’t emit light but reflect it, distinguishing the light the planet reflects from that of their star is even harder. But wait, there’s more! They can see evidence of photosynthesis…..from a planet 40 light years away….probably on the mountain they’re calling “New Everest” and around the “New Grand Canyon.”
Really? I can only explain this as, plot point. The author is clearly trying to build a world of humans on an alien planet so they’ve made the plot points to get them there and but don’t really care how it happens. Like a prequel that doesn’t matter and is just filler to get to the good stuff.
I have seen no evidence of any sort of advanced technologies, implemented or described. So it reasonable to assume that most tech is about modern. With modern tech is the safest most reliable option to save the human race to build a ship and send a few thousand people to a solar system with little to no reliable information? Are you really going to place all hope on a single long desperate shot?
Ok, I lied, fusion engines sound pretty advanced and the ability to cryo-sleep people is also pretty advanced stuff. But even then it doesn’t make the gamble worth it when compared to places in the solar system. If it was something “local”, you could build and continue building for twelve solid years setting up infrastructure and moving people off planet and storing them in cryo-sleep like leftovers, for later. We know what’s here and what we can use to stay alive. Anywhere else it’s a hope and prayer.
The sole purpose of this book is to get to the next one. Given how boring it is, how much I don’t care about the character, and how completely corrupted the “science” is, why would anyone want to read more?