4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Earth has finally been united into a single government, humans have acquired advanced space-flight technology, and Captain Cooper is about to take the state-of-the-art Space Fleet Patrol Torpedo Class #109 (SFPT-109) on a two-week test flight before it becomes fully operational. Captain Cooper, a genetically improved test-pilot, is joined on the SFPT-109 by Genna, a genetically engineered human that was “created” in order to interface with the ship’s AI. During their test-flight, Captain Cooper discovers more than just his ship’s limitations, he also discovers an alien refugee ship and makes Earth’s first contact with another race. Contact and Conflict by Don Foxe is a fast-paced science-fiction novel that throws the human race head over heels into an interstellar conflict that only they can help resolve.
After Captain Cooper and the SFPT-109 make contact with the alien ship in the vicinity of Neptune, they quickly find out that this ship is full of 240,000 aliens fleeing the evil Zenge race that have attacked their home planet. They barely made it away from the battle and now are quickly running out of supplies. The technology of this cruise liner (now refugee ship) is significantly inferior to that of the humans and they will never make Earth or Mars in order to re-supply. Not only are supplies crucially low, the Zenge may pursue the craft through the wormhole at any moment to finish off the limping ship. Captain Cooper decides to stay behind with the alien ship and send Genna back to Mars as soon as possible so she can bring back help.
Aboard the ship, Captain Cooper makes humanity’s official first contact with a number of alien races, does whatever he can in order prepare for the inevitable Zenge attack, and even makes some (extremely) personal relationships with some of the female aliens aboard. Together with the two Fell (female warrior race) and the Osperantue captain of the cruise ship, they strategize on how to beat the Zenge and hope that the SFPT-109 makes it back in time for the fight.
Contact and Conflict is an excellent tale about humanity’s first contact and how they are thrown into a role as a protector for alien underdogs. Not only does the “humanity meets aliens for the first time” story stand on its own, there are many aspects of this book that make it stand out from that traditional storyline. The space-battles are extremely intense and well thought out, the interactions between Captain Cooper and the different alien races is excellently written, the examples of both exemplary and poor leadership in duress is fantastic, and everything is thrown into a “just far enough” future to still be relatable. My favourite parts of this book, besides the contact story (I have a penchant for the unknown and for survival stories) were the strategy and the space-battles. It shows that Mr. Foxe has put a lot of thought into the militaristic tactics of fighting a space-based war on a 3-dimensional battlefield and it comes off fantastically.
My only issues with this book are not necessarily detrimental to the story line, but ever present in books like these. It always just so happens that the characters in these novels are the fastest, brightest, strongest and most brilliant tacticians (even to the point of being genetically engineered to be so!) Captain Cooper is able to best multiple aliens in hand-to-hand combat because of his super-strength and those Fell he has just met happen to be some of the brightest communications engineers in the universe. Go figure! As well, there is some amazing last minute solutions to problems that come up throughout the story that borders on Deux Ex Machina. I completely understand that this is a science-fiction novel and the genre is riddled with futuristic technology and superior beings, but you definitely need to keep this point in mind while reading the novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and since it had me on the edge of my seat until the end, I give it 4 out of 4 stars. This book is highly recommended for any lovers of the sci-fi genre, those that are attracted to a book with an epic battle or two in space, or a lovers of a good underdog/hero story. If sci-fi is not your cup of tea, or if you are bothered by your heroes finding impossible solutions after they’ve painted themselves into a corner, this may not be for you. I have just read that the second book in this series is coming out soon and I will likely jump at the chance to continue reading the saga.
Contact and Conflict
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like Scerakor's review? Post a comment saying so!