Thursday, September 15, 2011

Goodbye Milky Way, by Dan Makaon--Review

eFfusion Publishing Group LLC, ISBN 9780983378594, October 2011

I wanted so much to like this book.

Unfortunately, we are asked to accept the following inanities: There are multiple secret organizations capable of carrying out government-level projects. Humans, and all life, are the product of Intelligent Design by a space-faring species called the Guardians, who were created by the Elders, who were created by God. And just as intelligent design claims, evolution happens only within phyla; new phyla cannot arise by evolution. For the last sixty or so years, the President has been in regular communication with Earth's own Guardian, via holographic projection chamber at Roswell. Faced with a threat to the existence of the planet, the sensible thing to do is to hand the project off to a consortium of those aforementioned private groups, and not even inquire exactly what it is they're going to do. When a new president is elected, it's evidence that he's power-hungry and untrustworthy, when he wants to know exactly what all these black ops taxpayer billions are being spent on.

Oh, and a for me totally unaccustomed Morals Complaint: One of the women in the inner circle, in fact one of the early discoverers of the black hole threat, decides she wants to seduce her now-married ex-boyfriend who is also one of the early players. Not because they are overcome by the realization that they still have feelings for each other; just because she's lonely and bored and decides it will be a neat challenge to take another woman's man. For the heck of it. Because he's married. I was disgusted, and I can't imagine that anyone who is more actively concerned than I am about extra-marital sex in books and wants their stories "clean," will be other than extremely unhappy with this. It's not morally defensible, and it's completely unnecessary to the plot. These aren't the Bad Guys; it doesn't create plot complications later. It's the very definition of "gratuitous."

Anyway, there is a story here. A Canadian geologist notices anomalies in seismic data and contacts an old flame with the US geological service, to ask her for more data to examine. They find something alarming, and call other contacts, including the head of one of those Secret Groups mentioned, forming a small group that determines there's a black hole hurtling towards Earth, which will completely destroy the planet. They contact the President, who already knows some of this through the Guardian, the alien who watches over Earth.

Meanwhile, another of those Secret Groups is mounting an expedition to the Antarctic to locate a geologically stable location for a self-contained habitat to save a sufficient number for human families to ensure the survival of the human race in a disaster. (Hint: Antarctica is not actually a good place, geological-stability-wise, for such a habitat). Instead they find the Guardian and his fortress.

One group contacts the other, and they realize these two projects need to be united. The Guardian, the Ecosthat group, and the organization that formed around the geologists start working together and persuade the President, the Secretary of State, and the Fed Chairman to write very large blank checks with no real explanation beyond, "You know Earth is in Danger. We can save Earth!" It's nutty and unbelievable.

The writing is also not very smooth. There's a lot of Tell rather than Show. There are several long infodumps, one of them on the terribly, terribly abstruse and fascinating subject of fuel cells. Seriously. Many of the crises along the way had a distinct air of "insert Crisis A here."

Despite all this, in the last third of the book, I started to care what was happening to these characters and the planet. There is some nifty, clever stuff here, like the space foam. I'm left with the feeling that this would be an exciting story for a pre-teen/young teen reader who is undemanding (not for the more advanced and demanding readers), but the completely gratuitous adulterous affair early on makes it unsuitable.

Not recommended.

To purchase a copy of this book from Amazon, click on the cover image.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

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