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Impact, by Douglas Preston Book Review | SFReader.com
Impact, by Douglas Preston Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Forge Books Published: 2010 Review Posted: 6/27/2013 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
Impact, by Douglas Preston
Book Review by Paul Weiss
Have you read this book?
Wyman Ford, a former CIA agent turned freelance investigator, first
introduced to Preston's fans in TYRANNOSAUR CANYON and BLASPHEMY,
returns to complete a solo undercover mission to locate a secret
Cambodian mine hidden deep in the north Vietnamese jungles. The mine is
turning out some very unusual gemstones that happen to be highly
radioactive. But, as you might expect with any thriller penned by the
likes of Douglas Preston, nothing is quite as straightforward as it
seems at first glance. It isn't long before Ford finds his path crosses
with a young girl who's attempting to locate the impact site of a small
asteroid that recently lit up the night skies of Maine as it screamed
into the earth's atmosphere.
At this point the credibility meter is pushed way up into the red zone
and right off the scale when we discover that the asteroid isn't an
asteroid and the Cambodian mine isn't a mine. The asteroid was actually a
mini-black hole shot from an alien weapon based on Mars and the
Cambodian mine was (are you ready for this?), the exit wound caused when
this mini-black hole blasts its way straight through the earth. The
Mars group at the National Propulsion Facility, the CIA, the White House
and the American military (God Bless 'Em!) are doing their best to
cover up the entire event but Wyman Ford is having none of that.
For those of you that might think these are spoilers, I'll simply say
that I beg to differ. You can't spoil what any alert sci-fi reader can
figure out for themselves inside of a very few pages. The plot is quick
moving with lots of suspense, lots of cliff hangers and lots of twists
and turns but, ultimately, it's pretty predictable stuff until the very
ending. Now that is where the whole strength of this novel lies! Like
BLASPHEMY which is actually a philosophical essay on the existence or
the nature of god, IMPACT is more by way of an attempt to provoke
thought on the world's reaction to extra-terrestrial intelligence and
contact. What do we do if we meet them? What do we say when we meet
them? Will we ever be capable of actually communicating with an alien
extra-terrestrial species? What will THEY be trying to say when they
contact us? What will their intentions be?
As a long time Trekkie with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and
physics, I'm in Stephen Hawking's camp. I believe they're out there and I
do believe that, at some point, contact is an inevitability. So I think
some advance thought as to our response is both appropriate and
important. As a thriller, IMPACT is great fun albeit mindless and
predictable. But it attempts to place important questions into the
public's consciousness and I thoroughly enjoyed the process.
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The book is really pretty good. I enjoyed it. The opening was spoiled somewhat by having an amateur astronomer find the Andromeda Galaxy at the end of Orion's sword when it's actually in the constellation Andromeda. The middle, not the end of Orion's sword is where the great Nebula in Orion is.