4 out of 4 stars
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Shield Down by William De Burg is one of the most interesting sci-fi books I have read. James Alan Templeton, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Nicholas Pavlich, an evolutionary biologist, had written a famous article for Science America in 2018 that discussed the contribution of interstellar events to mass extinctions. At the time, the article also referred to as Templeton’s doomsday paper became a highly controversial work and destroyed Templeton’s reputation in the astrophysical community at large. Despite the controversies, contradictions, and criticisms the paper faced, it also sparked and brought to light a very frightening reality of global extinction and questioned the legitimacy of the National Aeronautics Space Agency's (NASA's) quest for life on other planets. The ability of humans to survive outside the Earth’s atmosphere was questioned, and so was space travel.
In light of all these, Templeton and Bazany wanted to make a difference, do something for humanity, and set the record straight. Professor Templeton’s graduate student, John Fredrick Bazany, was ready to put his doctorate on the line to get the truth after discovering that everything he had been told all his life was a lie. The question is, what would he find as the truth, and would it be worth it? Despite the catastrophic threat to humanity and the possible extinction of life, it seems no one is willing to do anything about it except Bazany. He attempts to carry out the most important project in human history, seeking those who would support with sweat and dollars. Will humanity survive? And if they do, what would life be like on Earth after?
The story is one with a lot of historical facts. Although it is fictional, the historical references seemed to add life to the plot. It entails a lot of astronomical facts and historical references. The author did a very nice job with the timing of the story, going back and forth between the past and present. The author was able to get the readers engaged emotionally as well as intellectually. The plot was centered around the survival instinct of humanity. The author was able to lunch his readers several years into the future. The characters were nicely crafted with nice backstories highlighting their importance to the story.
The entire book was divided into chapters, making it easy to follow the story. The font style and character spacing of the text were also nice and added to the reading pleasure of the book. Although there was no cover in the book as was shown on the website, there is also no graphic representation of any kind in the book, but getting a mental idea of the picture the author was passing across was not difficult because of the detailed description of the events in the book.
William De Burg makes use of a very nice and steady growing pace. As I read, I found myself caught between the pages, wanting to know what was going to happen next. I found the astrophysical outlook and conspiracy theories of the story most fascinating. The use of a third-person narrative style helped bring the entire picture together. The author was able to bring together love, hate, friendship, loyalty, patriotism, and duty in balanced proportions.
For me, Shield Down by William De Burg earned a 4 out of 4 rating due to the author’s outstanding imaginative and creative writing and attention to detail. Also, there is nothing I disliked about the book. Although I found some minor errors, they were not in any way distracting, and there was no use of profane words in the entire book. The book is soothed for readers, both young and old alike, especially those with an affinity for astronomy.
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