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Gaea: Beyond the Son, by P. D. Gilson
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Helios
Published: 2007
Review Posted: 3/4/2008
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10

Gaea: Beyond the Son, by P. D. Gilson

Book Review by Stuart Clark

Have you read this book?

It is a desperate time in Earth's future. Global warming is taking its toll. The polar ice caps are melting, raising sea levels and contaminating fresh water supplies. Man has two choices. Rely on D-salt, itself a much sought after commodity, to remove impurities from tainted water, or look to the heavens for a new home.

Doyle Gage is the poster boy for the promised Gaea future. A long serving United Earth Coalition (UEC) soldier, Doyle has been hand picked to be commander of the Gaea-02 spaceship. Its mission, to forge a new colony on a distant planet called M38 But Doyle unexpectedly finds himself alone to raise his young son and resigns his post, electing only to accompany the ship on its six month, slingshot test flight as a civilian consultant.

On returning to Earth, the crew of Gaea-02 are horrified to discover that the Asian Pacific Alliance (APA) has started all out war with the UEC. It soon becomes clear, the APA are after one thing, the Gaea ship and all its technology, so they can mount their own bid for M38.

Stranded in space, and considered fugitive by the APA, the crew of the Gaea-02 will be forced to make difficult decisions and Doyle must decide if he should return to Earth and learn the fate of his son or head for the stars and fulfill the Gaea dream.

Gaea: Beyond the Son, is the brilliant first offering from P.D. Gilson. Crammed full of action and with a plot played out by believable, likeable characters, it's hard to put this book down.

If you're looking for hard, techhy sci-fi, then this isn't for you. But if you like your SF a little on the pulpy/adventure side with a splash of military thrown in for good measure, I heartily recommend it.

The initial premise is good, the future world Gilson writes about not too much of a leap of faith given current warnings about global warming and climate change. The characters are engaging and their individual stories are slowly revealed to the reader through a series of flashbacks and hibernation dreams. Yes, it's been done before but it's executed well, bringing to the surface conflicts and motivations that draw you into the story as the book progresses.

The crew of the Gaea-02 get thrown from one situation to the next, and the action scenes are exciting and written well, yet none of the obstacles or hardships encountered seemed contrived to pad the story out, they just added to the snowballing pace of the plot.

If I had one minor criticism of Gaea: Beyond the Son, it would be the use of unexplained acronyms. Lovers of SF will have no problem, with a little bit of thought, figuring out what they all stand for, but readers new to the genre might not be familiar with them all. It's a minor issue.

Completing the package is the gorgeous cover art of Tomas Kuklik. A beautiful collage of scenes from the book, you'll find yourself constantly flipping back to view it and pictorially relive the scene you just read. They say never to judge a book by its cover but I'm afraid to say I did -- and I wasn't disappointed in the least
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