Double Book Review: Requiem for an Astronaut & Winter World

 Today I have two reviews focused on sci-fi tales. One book is a novella from a small indie publishing house - a self contained story set in a dark landscape with some interesting twists and a satisfying ending. The other is self-published and the first book in a trilogy about a new ice age enveloping Earth whose origin, it turns out, is neither natural nor friendly. Both were a lot of fun to read.

Requiem for an Astronaut is a sci-fi novella brought to us through UK based indie publishing house NewCon Press. The story is set in a future world where mankind's adaptation of alien warp drive technology has led to unexpected results. Some of those results are assumed. Barely mentioned, they become part of the broken landscape of East City and the surrounds where the book takes place. But one result - the mysterious and ongoing appearances of a lost test astronaut floating down from above - is the book's backbone.

Thirty years ago Joan Kaminsky disappeared while piloting a test flight using warp technology based on the drive found in the White Ship, an alien vessel whose appearance and subsequent landing on Earth seem to have been unexpected and unexplained. Since Joan's disappearance Bart, one of the members of the team that prepared her for flight, has been searching for an understanding of what happened to Joan, and an explanation for her mystical, almost supernatural aerial reappearances. 

Bart has become obsessed with finding answers, leading him to abandon his life in East City and to homestead in the lawless and barren countryside that is dominated by members of the Cult. From here he concentrates on his research into Joan while attempting to raise plants in the acidic soil.

One day a young woman appears at Bart's home following an attack on a nearby organ farm. Her appearance kicks off a sequence of escalating events that pull Bart from his seclusion and just may lead to answers to his questions of what happened to Joan.

I really enjoyed this story. Bennett strikes just the right tone with this dystopian sci-fi and noir adventure, and his writing style harkens back to some of the classic sci-fi of the 60s and 70s. An excellent choice for sci-fi fans in need of a quick fix. I give Requiem for an Astronaut Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

Requiem for an Astronaut links:

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Winter World by A.G. Riddle

In the near future of Winter World Earth faces a climate crisis, but it's not global warming. In fact, it's just the opposite - a new and inexplicable ice age is upon us. Soon though, scientists have sent probes into space to take readings of solar radiation and they discover that a mysterious unnatural object is moving toward the sun and blocking it's light and energy from falling to Earth.

Thus begins the race to understand what the object is, who or what sent it here, and what humanity can do to end the "Long Winter" that has set in.

A.G. Riddle has had great success as a self-published author with a number of books under his belt, and with several of them optioned for TV or movies. As the action unfolded in Winter World I could easily imagine its adaptation as a TV series. 

Riddle does a great job with character development and with the overall plot line. The science in the book is strong in some parts (the effects of prolonged weightlessness on the human body) and weak in others (would object(s) of size sufficient to block the sun and cause a new ice age really require us to send probes into space to detect them?). He also has a couple of big teasers that are only revealed at the end of the book, and for me both were kind of obvious and a bit of a let down. 

Overall though the book is fun and entertaining, with likely appeal for lots of sci-fi fans. I rate Winter World Three Stars ⭐⭐⭐.

Winter World links:

📙  Borrow this book: Find out if your library has the ebook or audiobook available.

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