The year is 2071. Devastated by the loss of his wife and son, NASA engineer John Orville signs up for a new life on Mars, implementing Project Bakersfield, a plan to combat deadly Martian storms. After a military unit lands on Mars, supposedly for a training exercise, Orville discovers the true purpose of Project Bakersfield. With the military unit going rogue, and a massive superstorm threatening imminent destruction, John Orville must fight to save the colony.
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NOT a The Martian ripoff
I received a free audiobook from the author in exchange for a honest review. So my comment here would be longer than usual. But my view is not impacted by the gift. And I do like the book.
This book has a somewhat unfortunate name. With Andy Weir's book of very similar name standing at the center of Science Friction and even Hollywood's spotlight lately, it is easy to mistake this book as a cheap rip-off of the same genre. I can assure you that this is not the case. Other than also happening on Mars and paying quite a bit of attention to technical detail, it is a whole different book, with a totally different storyline. (It did mention a Watney Building...brought a smile to my face. Not sure if intentional or not)
Also about the name, having the "Conspiracy" in the title kind of spoiled the story. It led me to think everything protagonist encounters is some sort of conspiracy. It let my imagination run wild at all the possibilities, so was a little disappointed when the conspiracy wasn't as elaborated as I had imagined.
On to the story itself, I think it's pretty good. The world is setting quite convincingly 60 years in the future. Autonomous cars, 3D printing, Hyperloop, drones, VTOL and other hot topics in mid-2010s are commonly seen. Although after a few repeated mentions it does feel a bit too intentional. They also make the book less timeless and clearly show which era when it was written. And...Skype? Really? In 2070s?
The plot itself is interesting. The conflict is quite well defined and explores a world where automation has eliminated the need for some people to have work. The characters have just enough room to demonstrate their own personalities (development, on the other hand, is not quite there. The book is just too short for that. But I'm okay with that)
I was expecting some follow up on the earth part of the story, but the Chekhov's gun still didn't fire towards the end. Turns out a sequel is in the plan. Will look forward reading it.
The audio book version is well produced as well. The narrator (Chris Abell) has just the right tone and speed to keep me engaged along the way.
- Kevin C.
Classic Conspiracy/Coverup with a Scifi Twist