2 out of 4 stars
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The Martisian Legacy by John Hoose is a science fiction novel that explores humanity's origins. Jack Larson is delivering a yacht to a client, which is supposed to be a simple task until he goes through the Bermuda Triangle, where he's suddenly struck by a huge storm. The yacht's instruments fail, leaving Jack trying to reach the nearest coast with no chances to ask for help via radio. As if that weren't enough, what seems like a giant shark creates a big wave that shakes the yacht.
Eventually, Jack reaches a shoreline and tries to look for anyone who could help him. However, when he meets some people wearing uniforms he never saw, he gets treated as an enemy and brought to their base, where he's locked up. The biggest shock comes for Jack when he discovers that the Martisians, the people who captured him, are humans who came from Mars to colonize the Earth and he's in the dinosaurs' era.
John Hoose originally wrote only the first half of this novel with the title The Alien Within. Later, he revised it and added another part of the story to obtain the current novel. Time travel is a theme that predates science fiction and has become a classic of this genre. The author used it to tell a story about humanity's origins.
Unfortunately, the novel has some problems, starting with the timeline. From Jack's memories about his past, you can infer that he was born in 1944. It's also stated that he was considered lost at sea in 1992. However, he remembers his high school prom to happen in 1995, which makes no sense. That year is mentioned more than once, so it's not a typo. Some of those problems might have come from extending the original story. For example, in the second part, a Martisian technology is important, and Jack knows it while it's not even mentioned before. In my opinion, the management of time travel is the biggest problem because two journeys have totally different effects. A good time travel story requires the author to establish some rules, such as whether time travel can affect the future or not, and be consistent in applying them throughout the story. That inconsistency is what I didn't like about the novel.
On the bright side, the story has several twists and is fast-paced thanks to a lot of action. Jack Larson is a well-developed protagonist, a realistic person who has good qualities and flaws, so it's easy to connect to him. After the incident that sent him back to the past, it's easy to understand his confusion and his desire to go back to his family. His story is engaging.
The novel contains some violence and sexual activities, though the author didn't go into details for either of them, so I think it's OK for young adults to read them. It wasn't professionally edited, as there are a lot of errors of various types. For this reason and the problems in the story development, I feel I have to rate it only 2 out of 4 stars. I hope the author does more editing to make the story more consistent and correct the errors. Honestly, I don't think it can be a masterpiece even with more editing but if you like an old type of science fiction, based on adventure and sense-of-wonder, and don't think too much about its consistency, you can enjoy The Martisian Legacy.
The Martisian Legacy
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