Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Astronaut Aldrin (Men from Earth, 1989), who was the second man to walk on the moon, and the Hugo- and Nebula-nominated Barnes (Mother of Storms, etc.) join forces in this enjoyable saga which combines two classic SF themes: the future of spaceflight and contact with intelligent alien life. The story oscillates between the careers of two human astronauts, Chris Terence and his son, Jason, on the moon and Mars, and the efforts of the Tiberians (from a planet of Alpha Centauri) to colonize Earth during prehistoric times. Chris meets his destiny while trying to retrieve a Tiberian relic from the moon. Meanwhile, the Tiberians' desperate efforts to colonize a habitable planet before their own is destroyed runs up against a host of well-depicted obstacles. Folly, prejudice, petty rivalries and bureaucratic befuddlement are shown to be common to both races, which are depicted with wit and empathy. Multiple subplots, a huge cast that deserves a glossary but doesn't get one and too many expository lumps impede narrative flow. Even so, the authors' lively storytelling will engage readers as it conveys the wonder and promise of space. Author tour. (July)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Former astronaut Aldrin and Hugo and Nebula award nominee Barnes team up to produce a lavishly detailed story of the flight of the Nisuans from their doomed planet. They arrive on 73rd century B.C. Earth only to be enslaved by humans. Interspersed is the story of 21st-century humans who receive a radio signal from the Nisuans. They accelerate the space program to find them and the encyclopedia they've sent to the moon and Mars. The complex story is rich in technical and scientific detail that can come only from one so intimately acquainted with real space flight. The illustrations were not seen. Highly recommended.
The collaboration of the first man to pilot a moon lander (Aldrin) with a major voice in contemporary science fiction (Barnes) has produced a fascinating chronicle of man's first encounter with alien intelligence. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, Earth begins receiving mysterious transmissions from Tiber, a planet near Alpha Centauri. They eventuate in startling video footage of the large Tiberian race and the location of sophisticated, encyclopedic databoxes left on the Moon and Mars during the aliens' last visit to our solar system. Fortunately, Earth's space program is undergoing a renaissance led by entrepreneur Sig Jarlsbourg and celebrity astronaut Chris Terence. Terence spearheads a disastrous lunar expedition that kills him and ruins the first box, but scientists recover enough information from the second box to make possible a trip to Tiber. Aldrin and Barnes include a "translated" account of the Tiberians' trip to ancient Earth in their fine fictional argument for continued investment in space.
Alien-contact/ancient-astronaut "infotainment" from Aldrin, the second man on the moon (Men from Earth, 1989, etc.) and leading novelist Barnes (Mother of Storms, 1994, etc.). By 2006, various space programs proceed in desultory fashion, spurred mostly by private enterprise and the prospect of space tourism. Then a message arrives from Alpha Centauri revealing the presence of alien encyclopedias on the moon and Mars, left by visiting alien Tiberians in 7000 B.C. In an attempt to recover the encyclopedia on the moon, Earth's leading astronaut, Chris Terence, dies, and the encyclopedia is destroyed. So, a multinational effort gears up to reach Mars and recover the information at all costs. Among all that alien advanced technology, investigators discover, is a chronicle describing how the Tiberians"alien" mostly in a metaphorical sensesent forth starships from their doomed homeworld to colonize as many new planets as they could. The first Tiberian expedition, touching down in the Middle East, resulted in a bloodbath and their enslavement by Stone Age humans. Fifty years later, a wiser second expedition rescued the survivors and determined just in time that the Tiberians couldn't survive on Earth permanently due to biochemical incompatibilities; they retreated to the moon and then to Mars, where they died out.
Bulging with facts and explanationsmost of them, unfortunately, at the expense of plot, character, and narrative momentum. Still, Aldrin brings an unmistakable hands-on realism to the details of space exploration, and Barnes lends his expertise to the overall structure and packaging.