The Enceladus Mission
Brandon Q Morris
Hard Science Fiction
October 15, 2018
Key Take Away: "If you like the idea (as I definitely do) of going through a realistic yet impossible story of travelling to another world then download this one."
What to say about Brandon Q. Morris's science fiction story, The Enceladus Mission?
Alright, let’s see.
When I say this is a science fiction story, I by no means am saying this is in the sci-fi category. This is in the SCIENCE fiction category.
I never put too much thought into this but there is a difference. The Enceladus Mission is a reality based fiction story about a crew of realistic characters taking a road trip to Saturn’s little frozen moon...sorry “satellite.”
This story, written by a guy who knows his stuff (Brandon) is then proofed and edited by engineers and doctors. Me, being none of these things find myself reading along as if I am holding a historical biography of events. Basically, I may as well be thinking, “oh, okay that’s how we made it to one of Saturn’s moons.”
The premise is, us humans sent a probe out to Enceladus and found a few clues that could possibly point to the existence of life there in one form or another. As humans do, we make a big scene, push some propaganda, and begin a worldwide fundraising campaign to start the process of sending some men and women to go in person and confirm or not, whether we are alone...or not. Seemingly, in the near future, Kickstarter no longer exists so countries got to pay up. The more you give, the better chance that one of your astronauts will get the honour of going.
Martin, the main protagonist, is not an astronaut. Unfortunately for him though, while troubleshooting computer programming glitches during some equipment testing he puts a spotlight on himself. This leads to his superiors at the space agency volun-telling him that he will be replacing a crew member who was injured during training.
There's something familiar with the way Brandon tells this part of the story. We see Martin in his element, troubleshooting and engineering his way through the problem. Cocky in a respectful way, mindful of his emotions with the stress of others' lives depending on him. As I enjoy the pages, I realize I’m starting to see a resemblance to the first few stories of Asimov's I, Robot and I’ll admit I get excited about what's coming.
I shouldn’t have.
As stated above this is a scientific fiction, and Asimov had always swayed to Sci.
Martin is scared poopless for the first half of the story. I always fall for these characters, not because I relate...no definitely not that.
It’s not until his mission is on the way that we see him take shape as an essential member of the crew. The crew of 6. The commander Amy, ship doctor Marchenko, biologist Jiaying, pilot Francesca, and engineers Hayato and Martin. Three Male and three female. Works out well for ship morale later. I’m sincerely curious if this would be standard procedure on a two year trip, or if it’s just something the author did on his own.
Now, any other author that threw six characters in a metal tube for a year or two would probably make this crucible the main antagonistic force. There would be all the basic cliché cabin fever symptoms nagging us all the way to Saturn.
Not this author.
Faulty equipment and the vacuum of space is all we will contend with. I’m not saying I missed it personally, but I will say 9 out of 10 people I give this book to will use it as a sleep aid.
(Though, I will admit that may also be the case because 9 out of 10 people I call friends are action mongers.)
There was one slight bump in drama however, when commander Amy tells the crew that she is pregnant thanks to Hayato. Great job. Very professional. I wonder at this point if this will turn into some type of Lost in Space series but Amy does not end up naming the child Will.
As events unfold, Martin watches from the sidelines; he is our accidental hero. The best kind in my opinion. All the action comes in the form of problem-solving and engineering on the fly, which adds to the realism. Whenever I start to question this realism, Brandon throws some math at me.
Dumb me responds with "yup this seems right…science..."
If you think you are comfortable orbiting a plot where nothing fantastic will occur—at least not until the end—then this may be a title for you. If you like the idea (as I definitely do) of going through a realistic yet impossible story of travelling to another world then download this one. I relish reading characters who use their wits to save the day because as I’m living vicariously through them, at that moment, I too am a genius.
If you don’t gravitate to a story where it’s just one equipment failure getting fixed after an other, you may want to skip. I warn you there is an abundance of telling and not tons of feeling, if your expecting a beautiful description of the endless oppressive presence of the void for example you will not find it here. It may be reasonable to just over shoot this books mass.
Now is there life out there?
Could you imagine if you went through a whole bloody novel where every obstacle is a busted doohickey or doodad (over and over) and when the crew finally gets there they find nothing?!
Well, If that were the case, I would lie my way through this whole thing with the intent to make sure as many people read this book as possible so that I would not be alone in such a cruel joke.
Have a nice day!
5 out of 10 stars (Hey! I actually can use stars for this one. That’s kind of nice.)