The first contact with alien intelligence is going to bring out both the best and the worst in humanity. In Contact, Ian Bristow brings us a story that sharply contrasts those who seek to profit from those who seek to befriend.
Our heroine. Madelyn, is an anthropologist and a person with a clear moral compass. She sets out on a mission to a far planet with a great deal of hope and bucketload of intellectual curiosity, but she is destined to find out that first contact with an alien race is very different from observing natives deep in the Amazon jungle.
Danger stalks every move both she and her companions make, and the question of who to trust becomes a matter of life or death. The question this novel poses very well is whether our first duty is to fight for the fate of the human race, or do we have a moral obligation to do no harm?
Read and decide for yourself.
First-Contact With A Twist!
When anthropologist Madelyn Lawrence is asked to join a secretive mission to study the first intelligent alien life, she is honoured and excited, even though it means leaving her fiance for another year. But she comes to learn that this mission is not entirely as it seems. There is a dark agenda behind the group of young scientists sent to study the planet and its biodiversity – a dark agenda that threatens her life.
Set in a not-too-distant future 140 years hence, what is really striking from the first about this book is that whereas many first-contact books have the aliens as the ‘bad guys’ when the first contact is hostile, in this book it is humanity which comes to the party with a hostile agenda. That makes this a rather unique take on the subject.
Like most good sci-fi, this is a story which has its focus on the people not on tech – although there is some interesting tech in there with such things as self-piloting air transport, space-elevators and holographic augmented reality maps. But the people, their relationships, their conflicts, fears, hopes and decisions are the focus.
The glimpsed descriptions of the alien world are really well done, creating an impression of a very different kind of landscape but with hauntingly familiar echos of earth. There might be ‘forests’ but the ‘trees’ are not as they are on earth. There are some truly alien – and often terrifying – flora and fauna for the exploration team to encounter.
This is a well-written book with interesting and believable characters, lots of action, sci-fi and intrigue. My main criticism would be a spoiler to go into in any detail here. But I do think that key in any first-contact novel, for me as a reader, is exploring the way in which an alien culture would be removed dramatically from anything we have on Earth. But then this is a story about human experience and one with a powerful message to deliver at that.
Contact (Instinct Theory #1) is part one of an ongoing series so don’t expect resolution of all the story elements by the end of the book.
Overall a great read that comes highly recommended!