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The ship itself remained silent, drifting.
Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it's an adventure she can't refuse.
The ship isn't vacant, as they presumed.
A disembodied voice rumbles inside Jane's head, "You are home".
Jane fights the growing doubts of her colleagues as she attempts to decipher what the alien wants from her. As the derelict ship devolves into chaos and the crew gets cut off from their escape route, Jane must decide if she can trust the alien's help to survive.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By D. Backshall on 07-15-17
Fluency is anything but fluent
I'm not the kind of person who will rate a book badly if I hate a character, find it too gory, or didn't like the ending. My sensibilities are not easily offended, and I understand not every book is for every person. However, I do rate books badly when they don't work. Fluency is a fine example of a book that does not work, for a number of reasons.
Do you remember the Hyperion series? I appreciated, but didn't love, Hyperion, because when it comes to sci-fi adventure novels, I'm in the "don’t tell me, show me" camp. Long, drawn out histories of peoples or characters I've never met and have no investment in? No. Just no. Give me space exploration, with some real-time and compelling action, maybe with some solid science as a foundation, and I'm good. Spend chapters spinning millennia of tragedy for random civilizations, and you're guaranteed to lose me.
Thus was the case in Fluency. The writing was off, the intensity fell flat, and the character development was charicaturish. There were back stories, but they were unbelievable and seemed to come from a 14-year-old's hero fantasies. And the telepathy-as-a-tool-for-telling-half-the-novel thing was B.O.R.I.N.G. It's hard to craft a compelling story when it's mostly one lonesome and whiny being revealing everything in one woman's mind. There were so many devices used in this book that didn't work, I can't and won't list them all.
Fair warning to those looking at the description: this is not hard science fiction. I live for good hard sci-fi, and this in NO WAY resembles it. I kept having to talk myself into returning to the book, and finally at halfway I remembered I have 200 books with actual potential waiting. Abandoning this meh of a novel was then a no brainer.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
By Minto Flats on 08-10-16
I "drug" myself away as quickly as possible.
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Someone who knows little about SF and doesn't mind horrible grammar.
What was most disappointing about Jennifer Foehner Wells’s story?
The hero, Jane, is supposed to be a linguist. Apparently, Foehner doesn't know that linguistics is an analytical, structural science, not a savant talent. Jane is not a linguist; she is a polyglot. The concept is old: a linguist on a first-contact mission who translates and empathizes with the aliens. But in Foehner's novel, the alien AI communicates psychically--in English! So, a linguist--Jane--is useless; any other character could have filled the hero role. At one point, a character "drug his eyes away from" an instrument panel. I "drug" myself away from this novel by the end of chapter 4, and wish that Audible still allowed returns and refunds.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
An old, but excellent concept. Many SF writers have used linguists for first contact and made the stories exciting. Perhaps Foehner should have read more of them, especially H. Beam Piper who investigated the possibilities of General Semantics for solving human-alien communication problems.
Any additional comments?
I won't be buying the sequels. How could other listeners think that this novel is 5 stars?
27 of 29 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Feanix on 06-26-15
Writing Feels Immature
I felt slightly bothered by the story through out. I had the feeling I was reading a story written by a bright high school student rather than that of an adult.
The male characters were particularly badly written. One character is clearly meant to be genius bad boy and so constantly thinks about six and acts dumb when it comes to understanding relationships but then is written to have thoughts and feelings that are totally at odds with his established character such as reading to the body language between two people and noticing exact shades of cosmetics. It seems unlikely to me that the two would coexist and it seems more likely that he's simply ended up being written as internally as a rude, sec obsessed lesbian because the author really doesn't understand men.
The technology also has a distinct feeling of sci-fi magic. The book even makes reference to the "Clarke quote" about "any sufficiently advanced technology..." but it feels abused here to simply explain away any inconvenient plot problems.
Overall these problems spoilt a story that was never all that interesting anyway. The ending is meant to be a cliff hangar but I'm profoundly uninterested in what may come next in any case and don't think I'll be listening to any further books in this series.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Marc on 01-24-15
Good Space Adventure
Page turner type fast developing "near future" action. A women as the hero with that issue being well developed in current context. Great storytelling. Can't wait for sequel.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kristin on 08-04-16
A really interesting and compelling trilogy about telepathic alien squids, intrepid deep space travel and first encounters with alien cultures. I very much enjoyed the pacing and the sci-fi elements of Wells' work. She clearly has researched and thought out all of the concepts (from culture to society and science) she introduces. I also like the idea of humans being the legendary and mythic race in galactic history.
Unfortunately, it does suffer from an obligatory romantic sub plot that frankly drags down and distracts from the interesting stuff. The main romantic interest is written like a jerk who calculates every move to get into bed with the protagonist, and sulking when he doesn't get his way. Also I got tired of the protagonist throwing 'tremulous smiles' at him. Disappointing, as her relationship with the alien squid is far more nuanced, proving that Wells can write complex relationships. Just apparently not between humans.