Solitude: Dimension Space Book One by Dean M. Cole
I get a lot of ads on my Facebook timeline for books to read. As a matter of fact, I get so many that if I tried to read every book that appears, I would be backlogged on reading for months. So I am very selective on the ads I look at and check into. Recently, I started seeing an ad for a new novel by Dean M. Cole entitled Solitude. The cover art was appealing and the blurb about the book caught my attention...
“Can Humanity's Last Two Unite? Solitude: Dimension Space Book One The Martian meets I Am Legend and Gravity when Earth's last man discovers that the last woman is stranded alone aboard the International Space Station. If you like action-packed, page-turning novels, you'll love the electrifying action in this apocalyptic thriller.
Astronaut Angela Brown, commander of a diminished crew aboard the International Space Station and fellow astronaut Bill Peterson are on an EVA to perform maintenance on the station’s solar panels when they receive a call from Mission Control to observe a phenomenon of light that is sweeping across the planet knocking out communications as it passes. It is soon determined that a state of emergency exists and that the astronauts have to abandon the ISS and make an emergency return to Earth. Unfortunately for Angela, she is not able to get on the Soyuz capsule for the return trip and is left behind with the promise of rescue at a later time.
Meanwhile at NASA’s Glenn Research Center near Cleveland, Ohio, Astronaut Mark Hennessy and Army helicopter pilot Vaughn Singleton are testing a new propulsion system when they see a bright flash of light, and their communications with their support crew goes dead. They realize that something has happened when they move outside the testing facility and see commercial aircraft crash-landing at the nearby Hopkins International Airport. As the two begin to investigate what has happened, Mark is killed leaving Vaughn on his own. He soon discovers that he is the only person left alive on the planet as he travels to his mother’s home in Boulder, Colorado.
With her limited supplies on the ISS diminishing, Angela goes about the business of survival and Vaughn does the same on the planet. They both believe that they are the only humans left alive and as they begin to lose hope of ever finding a solution to their problem, a famous ad slogan sparks a memory in Vaughn that could mean hope for both he and Angela.
Solitude is a well written story that is light on the scientific jargon while being heavy on character development and detail in describing the action that is taking place during the story. There is plenty of opportunity for the author to throw in a lot of acronyms from NASA-speak that wouldn’t further the story at all, but that is not the case here. We get just enough technobabble to let us know what is important to the characters, lending a clarity to the prose without clutter. The two main protagonists and what they are doing as they get into and out of situations, and there is where the detail lies in Solitude.
On the ISS, Angela is dealing with a shortage of supplies because of a failed resupply mission to the station. She has to make due with what she has on hand, and as she does, she performs tasks that are logical and that make sense to the reader. As a physicist, she devises a way to supply the station with power when the solar panels are no longer viable. There is just enough explanation so that anyone with an acquaintance of basic high school physics can understand.
Vaughn, on the other hand, is faced with having virtually unlimited resources, but in some cases, he has long distances to travel to get to what he wants or needs. At the same time, he is trying to wrap his head around the fact that he is totally alone which begins playing with his mind causing him to become a bit eccentric in his behavior. Vaughn became my favorite character in the story because of his personal growth as the pages turn. He starts out as a bit of a negative character who has never really taken advantage of the opportunities that have come his way. He could have become an astronaut, but he had too many things going against him when those doors were open to him. In the beginning, he comes across as one of those kind of people that tries to put together a kit without looking at the instructions first, just winging it as he goes along, and usually getting in trouble or failing at the task. As his adventure as the sole survivor on Earth unfolds, he learns that there are procedures to be followed and impulsiveness is not something that works well. His impulsiveness almost kills him a couple of times, but he learns his lessons well as the story unfolds.
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic science fiction stories are among some of my favorite to read, and this one is a great one. The descriptions of the characters, the places they go, the things that they do, and the things that they see are spelled out in enough detail to paint mental pictures and ignite the imagination of even the most casual reader. Solitude is one of those that should appeal to a wide audience because of the writing style of the author. It is easy to understand and immensely entertaining and fun, and comes complete with a cliffhanger ending and the promise of another book to follow in late 2017.
Author Dean M. Cole is a “Commercial pilot by day, author by night. Originally from Texas Dean Cole lives all over the world as a traveling international pilot. Writing from locales as remote as Equatorial Guinea and romantic as Paris’ Champs-Elysées. A combat veteran, he served in the US Army’s First Cavalry Division as an Apache Attack Helicopter Pilot.” Quoted from the author’s web site.
Solitude: Dimension Space Book One receives my highest recommendations as a fine bit of work in the genre.
Well, there it is…
Edited By Benjamin Arrowood