Hey, where’d everybody go?
I watched a lot of Twilight Zone growing up, and one of my favorite episodes featured a man who found himself utterly alone in a strange environment and spent the next half hour trying to figure out where he was, why he was there, and, most importantly, where everybody else went.
Submitted for your approval: Four astronauts. They expected a ticker-tape parade, but their motorcade has taken an unscheduled detour…through the Twilight Zone.
In Robin Parrish’s Offworld, four NASA astronauts–poster-boy mission commander Chris, multi-talented second-in-command Trisha, steely-nerved mission specialist Owen, and brash, impulsive pilot Terry–are enroute to Earth following an historic two-and-a-half-year mission to Mars.
67 days to landing, they abruptly lose contact with Mission Control. As they get closer to Earth, they realize that all electronic evidence of human activity on Earth has ceased. No radio, no television, no e-mail, no bars on the cell phone.
Then, their spacecraft loses power on re-entry and plunges Earthward, out of control. The End.
Just kidding. The astronauts awaken, battered and bruised, but otherwise intact, on the runway at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and their worst fears are confirmed: nobody’s home. Even the animals have disappeared. They access a reconnaissance satellite feed and discover a brilliant light shooting skyward from the vicinity of Houston, Texas. Commandeering a couple of abandoned vehicles, they start traveling toward Houston in search of answers.
Eventually, they discover they’re not quite alone–they find Mae, an odd, homeless girl with an attitude, who might be connected to the mass-vanishing, but she seems as clueless as the astronauts. As they continue their journey, strange incidents multiply–weird storms, creepy “voids,” and shadowy followers. On top of that, Craig Chris is experiencing a series of flashbacks to an incident on Mars when he went missing and returned to base with several hours unaccounted for, and he’s beginning to remember what happened.
The very fabric of reality seems to be unraveling, or perhaps our heroes are trapped in some bizarre hallucination–or worse.
I’ll share my personal impressions of Offworld tomorrow, but in the meantime, look at all those signposts up ahead! Those are all the other fine sites on the CSFF Blog Tour. Go check ’em out.
As an added bonus, I will be giving away a copy of Offworld this week! Everyone who leaves a comment through midnight on Day 3 will be entered into the drawing (1 entry per day, per person). After all entries have been collected, my daughter will draw them out of a hat and discard them until only one remains. The survivor gets the book, so don’t disappear on me, okay?
Robin Parrish’s Website: http://www.robinparrish.com/
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen (posting later in the week)
John W. Otte
Rachel Starr Thomson
>>This review is based upon a copy of the book provided to me free of charge by the publisher, a courtesy I appreciate, but which does not guarantee my recommendation. I strive to evaluate every book I review purely on its intrinsic merits.<<