Fluency : Confluence

  • by Jennifer Foehner Wells
  • Narrated by Susanna Burney
  • Series: Confluence
  • 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960's. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it.
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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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?

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- Minto Flats

Great Concept, Loved the Story... I Want More!

I went into this book already loving the concept of the story. I was pleasantly surprised that even though I thought I knew where the story would go, but there were plenty of twists, turns, and surprises in store.

Summary with very, very minor spoilers (How else can I describe the storyline):

The book focuses around a female linguist with extensive experience in field and emergency situations (although she tries to suppress those life experiences). As an expert in the field of languages and communication, a former leader of a team in a first-contact situation with an isolated human tribe, and possessing a demonstrated ability to manage stress and react to emergencies, she is the first candidate chosen by NASA for a top secret mission.

As part of the story, it is revealed that the Roswell crash was actually a shuttle from a much larger ship located in the asteroid belt. The huge ship has been seemingly abandoned for decades, now floating dead in space. After recently discovering that a comet is on a direct path for the ship, NASA sends a mission to the ship before the comet can destroy it. The mission is meant to be the first of two. The first is to survey what is there and report back so that the second mission will be prepared. The main character is along to take charge in the event of a first contact situation with anyone still left on the ship.
After arrival, a single survivor makes contact with our linguist... in a rather unconventional way. We also come to find that the entire crew was killed by some kind of bio-weapon. Only the navigator, a somewhat different being than the rest of the aliens, survived alone for the past several decades.
Without giving too much of the storyline away, we also eventually learn that the aliens in question are members of a coalition of intelligent life that are united against a single threat, and had originally visited earth in search of allies.
The book did end, as I expected, with a cliffhanger... It is definitely set up for another book to follow. Although I am always irritated when there is more story to be told past the end of a book, but it will make me look forward to the next one (PLEASE let there be a next one!).
As I said, I went through the book thinking I knew what was around the next turn, only to be gladly proven wrong.

The narrator does a pretty good job as well. While isn't the best narrator ever, the narration felt believable enough for a 5-star rating, although I probably would have given a 4.5 if possible.

I think that there were a few issues in writing style and execution in a few small places, but I loved the rest of the book so much that I couldn't warrant giving anything less than 5 stars. I almost couldn't stop listening, and that's what I want in an audiobook.

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- Striker

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-20-2014
  • Publisher: Blue Bedlam Books