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While I might compare this to The Martian (which I absolutely loved, FYI) -- Tom Abrahams' SpaceMan was different. Where in The Martian he was stranded on Mars because of a storm, this story follows an astronaut who is aboard the International Space Station when a massive CME (coronal mass ejection) plunges the station into darkness.
The narration for SpaceMan was done by the amazing Kevin Pierce, who kills it as always. I've said it a bunch of times, but he really has the perfect Post-Apocalyptic voice. I was so pleased to find out that Pierce and Abrahams were teaming up again for this book (and hopefully series). Pierce is able to provide the perfect narration to Abrahams writing style.
The story itself, as with all of Abrahams' stories was perfect. The pacing and writing just flowed so effortlessly. I put this audiobook on last night and wanted to listen for a half hour or so -- I ended up listening for almost 2 hours. And even today, I couldn't put it down. Listening on my way to work, on my lunch break, and any other time I could find time.
The combination of a Post-Apocalyptic world and astronauts is such a fresh and unique point of view, I couldn't get enough. Thankfully, there will be more -- with Descent being written as the next story in this series. Also, if you're curious -- the entire story does not take place in space. You also get to meet his wife and child and a few other people who are around the family. The back and forth from space to Earth was also really different and made the book feel that much more real.
The main character, Clayton, made me laugh numerous times throughout. The way that he kept himself from freaking out or from losing it was so humorous (I won't ruin it here, just know it's funny). And the ability to make a person laugh when the person they are reading about is in a dire situation is a rare commodity.
Overall, the fresh take on post-apocalyptic fiction -- mixed with the humorous main character make SpaceMan an incredibly enjoyable book, and honestly easily a contender for the best book I've read this year (out of 150+).
I received this book for free. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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22 of 27 people found this review helpful
I hate books written about dumb characters doing what they do best (acting dumb) and this book is replete with them. Let's start with the concept of an EMP knocking out power to the world and the subsequent collapse of civilization as we know it. This is not a new concept, several books have been written about this idea (better books than this one) but the author treats the idea of an EMP as though it were a startlingly novel concept. A brief list of things that bugged me:
An astronaut, stranded in the space station after the event, has to painfully and laboriously reconstruct this idea, 'starting with what he knows about the sun' which is that the earth revolves around the sun. Seriously? This is where he starts? What is he, nine years old? I realize that an author has to be careful not to leave behind his audience when writing about scientific ideas but come on, does the author think that the kind of luddites who don't know the earth revolves around the sun are going to be reading his book?
A father out camping with his son and son's friend is asked to jump a stalled car. He gets out his jumper cables and walks all the way over to the site with the stalled car where the woman he's helping has to ask him where his car is. Apparently it never occurs to him at any point that he requires a power source to accomplish his task; perhaps he was going to fasten the cables to one of those current bushes my husband is always telling me about.
I found the relationships between the people in the book to be wooden and superficial; of course you can't expect in-depth characterization in a book of this type but I never felt an emotional connection with anybody, in fact as my annoyance increased, I sort of wished a gamma ray burst would follow up the EMP and wipe them all out.
Bottom line, I'd spend my money/credit on One Second After by William Forstchen or Aftermath by Charles Sheffield instead, both of which involve EMPs knocking out modern society but are just done better (IMO).
15 of 19 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
The International Space Station is at half strength and two of the three astronauts are outside conducting emergency repairs when it is caught up in unexpectedly violent magnetic storm. So begins the nightmare for Clayton Shepherd, the one man left aboard. With all communication lost, he cannot tell if his companions are still alive, has no way to seek help from Houston, or even know what might be happening on Earth below him, and to his family there. For a short while he will be safe - but not for long.
This is a remarkable reworking of the often-too-similar (even if excellent) post apocalyptic stories which tend to follow small groups of people battling to survive over time as the situations worsen and social breakdown as well as hunger force people into ever increasing barbarism. Instead, this book concentrates on Shepherd's dilemma in his isolation as his space station hurtles onward at five miles per second, and the experiences of his wife and two children caught up in the aftermath of the coronal mass ejection back on Earth. And it covers only the first few hours. The characters are fully three dimensional and the whole scenario feels very real. The confusion felt, the pain of loss and fear for loved ones who cannot be contacted is palpable whist the decisions made by the astronaut of only ten weeks experience are real hold your breath stuff. Kevin Pierce's narration adds to the feeling of verisimilitude, his impeccable reading, his distinctive voicing of the various protagonists and his perfect pacing of the book make this a superb performance, no histrionics just solid story telling.
My thanks to the right's holder who gifted me a copy of Spaceman, via Audiobook Boom.. It was well written, informative, unusual, very exciting and perfectly narrated. Although complete in itself, there is ample room for another, continuing story and I will definitely be looking out for it. An excellent book and one I have no hesitation in recommending
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I love post apocalyptic fiction and I know its hard to not tread well trodden paths...... If I had listened to this at a future point when the full series is complete, I expect I would possibly have downloaded and listened to about the 3rd or 4th in the series of ten - just out of interest and then probably lost interest.... Actually this could be set in several series of post apocalyptic stories I have already done this with. It is not that this is a bad book at all, in fact if this was my first listen to the genre I would have loved it and been really keen for more, if you have not listened to a lot of post apocalyptic fiction and are interested - you will love it. If like me you have listened to many variations of the apocalypse, this one is a gap filler but nothing new here, I may possible download the next 1 or 2 but having been here before really I probably wont...