2 out of 4 stars
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Infinity 7: What Do You Hear when Aliens Call?, by Charles R. Hinckley, starts with intrigue when scientists on Earth receive a mysterious message from the Metis 3 Space Station which is orbiting the Moon.
The scientists working with Metis 3 are trying to keep that space station in orbit and fully functional. Focused initially on scientific exploration, the Metis Program is now having financial issues. To continue their research, they have partnered with a mining company who is supplementing their income. This creates a tenuous relationship between scientists and mining executives, and now this curious message has caused considerable confusion among both scientists and crew. Mission Director Dr. John Collins has invested years in the space station, and he is desperate for it to succeed. Dr. Collins climbs aboard the Infinity 7 spacecraft and heads to Metis 3 to evaluate the situation, hopefully preventing any bad press that might result in a loss of funding.
The search for the cause of the strange message and the odd behavior of the crew was entertaining. I wasn’t sure what was at the heart of the mystery until well into the book, so it wasn’t a predictable plot. The descriptions of the setting were vivid and realistic. Hinckley created good images without being wordy.
What I didn’t understand about the book was the character design, and I found this to be a major flaw in the book. Unfortunately, I didn’t consider the characters very interesting, and some of them seemed to have no purpose in the story. Without giving any spoilers, there was one principal character whose role just stopped, but I couldn’t see how that helped to advance the plot. I couldn’t even connect with the main character, Dr. Collins, although the author provided background details and let readers into his thoughts and motivations. I found him to be bland.
I was initially excited to read this book because I had not read a science-fiction book in a while. I was looking for memorable characters with a good strong plot that made me think. Unfortunately, this wasn’t what I was looking for. I give Infinity 7: What Do You Hear when Aliens Call? 2 out of 4 stars. It is well-edited with very few errors, and I find that to be refreshing. The few errors I did find had to do with commas and can be easily corrected. Prospective readers may want to know that there is some adult language and a suggestion of sexual encounters. There is not much violence.
This book just doesn’t have the strength of a 3-star read. I can’t recommend it because I simply didn’t enjoy it. The first half of the book was intriguing, but some of the seemingly important plot points didn’t come together during the rest of the story. I am not giving it only 1 star because although the story faded as the plot continued, it wasn’t a chore to read, either. The ending leaves much up to the reader’s imagination. Some will find that appealing, and some will find it dissatisfying. Readers looking for deep characters and a concrete ending will especially want to skip this one.
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