Adrift On The Sea Of Rains by ian sales Okay, in all fairness I will give this book a five in initially breathing life back into the images of space flight as we know it. But I truly don’t understand the praises given without any real reviews about the story being told and the content and continuity. And with all the five and four star reviews you would expect someone would have more to say than good job in two or less paragraphs. There seems to be few who go into depth. I really wish there had been more before I plunked down my handful of quarters for the story. I had not ever heard of Ian Sales before reading this. Apparently he has a presence in England (UK) with many short stories and work on several web zine sites. You can find him at his own web site and he has links to his book review site that specializes in reviewing the work of female science fiction authors. More important you can go to the Fiction Desk and read some of his work. http://www.thefictiondesk.com/anthologies/the-maginot-line.php I wish I’d done that first. The piece called Faith gives the reader a clear view of the authors style and bent. It seems to be a group of stories that might have been ripped from the pages of news during the heyday’s of space flight. Except in some cases there are bits of twists at the end where in others they seem to follow the headlines. Either way it seems to be an introduction to the paralleled universe of Ian Sales. With an introduction to his twisted endings. This story reads well to begin with; with our hero Vance Peterson the apparent commander of the moon base Falcon. We’re told that he’s been there for two years, though he was only supposed to have been there for six month. There seem to be two events that occurred around three weeks before the end of six months. One is the arrival of Dr. Kendall and The Bell, torsion field generator(which seems to be some device made by the Nazis that can push them through to other dimensions to other earths, which is going to come in handy.) The next event at this same time - unless I’m confused- is the death of earth through human destruction. Peterson seems to blame the Russians, which is interesting when considering things later in the story. The circumstances are grim so the story seems a bit grim and lacking in emotional involvement of the characters. We see mostly Peterson’s frustration. There is very little life in this story because things are pretty monochromatic coming from Peterson’s point of view. I’m a bit unclear about what the present time is, but it’s mentioned that Peterson has reached the two year mark though at the same time it is mentioned that he’s had to put up with Kendall for two years-which can’t be right. Its also mentioned that the last flight in was Kendall and his equipment and at that time there was two years of supplies. Assuming the destruction so soon, there likely were no more supplies sent. Lastly it is mentioned that there are 4 month supplies left in that Peterson is convinced they will all be dead in 4 months unless they find an earth that hasn’t been destroyed. I know I’m poor at math but this doesn't add up though if we allow a slop factor of 4 to 6 months it’s negligible. I could be wrong about the incongruous timelines but I've read this through three time and the last time was slowly and now I have a headache. Anyway Peterson is in charge and since the death of earth 3 people have committed suicide so supplies might last longer. There seems less fear about water and air though I've some questions about the pure oxygen that Peterson seems so free about using up so he can have his private time. With 9 of them left and some one and half or so years gone by; and some incalculable number of shifts in dimensions, Peterson has some time long ago given up his authority and allowed things to just happen around him. This is important because we eventually have to deal with his tantrums about the lack of discipline in some of the people. Something, which he is a major contributor to. The base is 6 years old and falling apart so one would wonder just how well the recycling of water and air is working since the two are somewhat mutually inclusive to each other. It’s got to be getting old and stale and the equipment might not be holding out.(None of that is mentioned beyond it being taken care of but,I do have my worries anyway.) The Bell torsion field generator is the only hope and its the main incongruous sci-fi in an otherwise Science Fiction story. But it is part of the Ian Sales universe and that’s another story available on Amazon. Even with the Bell, the whole story holds up well until they find a new earth then things fall apart quickly. I’m just not believing that after a long period of abdication of his authority that Peterson will get it back so easily and then so easily hijack the mission that is vital to their continued survival. There’s some excellent teamwork and science involved in the calculation of getting someone in space and if we don’t sit and try to figure out why there isn't something ready to go without all this calculating then its really neat. I just had this problem with knowing that Kendall showed up three weeks before Peterson was to leave. Apparently his departure relies on a flight from earth coming to pick him up. You would think that they would have a backup ready to lift in case the vehicle delivering his replacement encountered problems. But maybe not. Even so after all that calculation to get what they had up into space, we’re suppose to believe these rocket scientists forget to include food in the calculation and that the food for one person will take up the weight of three; so only one person can go on this three day flight. And that sounds really intelligent; we’ll send one man on a chancy three day flight by himself so we can be saved. I have this feeling that- way back- when Peterson abdicated his authority that the vacuum creates would be filled by the XO or someone else and they would clearly want the best pilot on the job, which apparently is Neubeck. Clearly though the twist of this story relies on Peterson being the pilot. Eventually the reader is shown evidence that Peterson should never have been left in command of anything and that he has a tendency to react impulsively upon his own prejudice. There are other secrets there that implicate him into the whole mess that is the death of earth and even Peterson seems oblivious to this. This book has a rather useless appendix except for the citations and references the readers are intelligent enough to understand the acronym there that haven’t been explained within context and they really don’t drive the story anyway. Needless,you should read as much of Ian’s writings prior to this as you can before reading this to catch the tone of his writing and then it will prepare you for this one and probably the next, which I don’t think I’ll bother to spend my quarters on. Ian seems to believe he’s creating a new genre here, but I've seen all of this before and it might be a mix of several which would fall within speculative fiction. I’m not sure he’s yet reached the pinnacle that he’s looking for. Best of luck in that endeavor. You have recaptured the spirit of Space Flight past. Giving the setting marvelous and sensuous texture. I just wish you could work a bit more on giving the story and the characters some emotion and life. Sural
Was this review helpful to you?