The Echo

( 2 )

Overview

The disappearance of the spaceship Ishiguro twenty-three years ago devastated the global space program and set back exploration for a generation. Now, thanks to the tireless efforts of twin brothers Mira and Tomas Hyvonen, the program has been resurrected. Spearheading a new age of human discovery, the brothers also hope to solve the mystery behind the Ishiguro's disastrous mission.

Mira and Tomas are determined to make their trip successful. ...

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The Echo

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Overview

The disappearance of the spaceship Ishiguro twenty-three years ago devastated the global space program and set back exploration for a generation. Now, thanks to the tireless efforts of twin brothers Mira and Tomas Hyvonen, the program has been resurrected. Spearheading a new age of human discovery, the brothers also hope to solve the mystery behind the Ishiguro's disastrous mission.

Mira and Tomas are determined to make their trip successful. They have arranged everything down to the smallest detail. Nothing has been overlooked.

They don't know that in space, the devil isn't always in the details . . . and nothing goes according to plan.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/03/2014
Set primarily in the depths of space, the second novel in Smythe's Anomaly Quartet (after The Explorer) picks up 23 years after the disappearance of spaceship Ishiguro as identical twins Mira and Tomas Hyvonen are put in charge of the latest expedition to outer space. As Mira leads a team to the anomaly, Tomas is left behind to run the mission from Earth, and a subtle resentment beings to build between the brothers as a result of their various roles. Yet just when the spaceship reaches the anomaly, the mission begins to go off the rails. Mira must battle with his desire to learn about the anomaly, save his crew, and please those on Earth who funded the mission, all the while trying to get back alive. Told from Mira's perspective, we become enthralled with his increasing paranoia and frustration with his perfect mission going awry. The anomaly presents the fascinating mysteries we expect from space and opens up the story to morally ambiguous choices for the characters. We may learn very few nuances about the anomaly, but there is more to come. (Jan.)
New York Post
“There have been teachers in space, senators, and the wealthy who buy tickets. But never has a journalist been launched over the atmosphere. Until Smythe’s gripping novel.”
Charles Yu
“This is a remarkable book: a state-of-the-art spacecraft constructed from ideas, and propelled by a powerful story. Gripping, terrifying and audacious—an exploration in every sense of the word.”
Financial Times
“The Explorer has the dreamlike detachment of an Ishiguro novel…. reminiscent of a 1970s space movie, where the darkness of the void mirrors the darkness of the human soul.”
Romantic Times BOOKclub (Top Pick!)
“Science fiction is best when it does what we least expect, when it transforms narrative into something you don’t see coming….It’s a trick not every writer can master, but Smythe makes a marvel of this world, and these characters, and makes this reader want the sequel now.”
Chuck Wendig
“A brilliant book — funny, desperate, desolate, sad, all in equal measure.”
Booklist
“A challenging and stimulating read.”
Tor.com
“The Explorer is essentially exemplary: a short, sharp shock of a story from an author who deserves to do as well for himself as he does by us. It’s perfectly plotted, smartly characterised and rife with insight and excitement.”
io9.com
“The Explorer by James Smythe is quiet, dark book which focuses on the dark and quiet of space….It may not be a flashy…but it is a fascinating character study that could only exist in a science-fictional world.”
SF Signal
“A] mind-bending, heart-wrenching, avalanche of a reading experience… an oasis for readers thirsty to find an engaging book… books like this are the kind that create fans, and I’m proud to be one.”
Lauren Beukes
“Beautifully written, creepy as hell. The Explorer is as clever in its unravelling as it is breathlessly claustrophobic.”
Romantic Times BOOKclub
“Science fiction is best when it does what we least expect, when it transforms narrative into something you don’t see coming….It’s a trick not every writer can master, but Smythe makes a marvel of this world, and these characters, and makes this reader want the sequel now.”
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-25
Dysfunctional…People…in…Spaaaace! For the second time in a projected four-book series, Smythe demonstrates why it's a bad idea to shut up virtual strangers in a tin can with an unclear directive. The Ishiguro vanished on its journey to examine an anomalous area of space. Readers of The Explorer (2013) know that everyone died except for journalist Cormac Easton, trapped within the anomaly and looped in time, observing the tragedy over and over. Twenty-three years later, scientist twins Tomas and Mira Hyvönen head a new mission to explore the anomaly. Tomas remains on Earth at ground control while Mira, the narrator, travels aboard the spaceship Lära. Mira is physically, socially and emotionally clumsy, ill-suited to heading an expedition into unknown territory. The brothers believe they have considered every contingency, that their mission will succeed where the previous one did not. Of course, things go terribly wrong—again and again—as the crew becomes ensnared in their own series of devastating time loops. Both novels in the series resemble a bleak cross between Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit and the film Groundhog Day. These works share a common theme—that the protagonists' psychological problems and moral failings led to their predicament; the only way to escape is to confront those problems and strive for redemption. Sadly, Mira is no Bill Murray. Nicely written and thoughtful, but two more of these literary variations on a morbid theme may be far too much of the same for readers.
Library Journal
02/15/2014
Twins Tomas and Mirakel Hyvönen have been competing and collaborating their whole lives to get their dreams of interstellar travel off the ground. When they launch an expedition to investigate the blank area in deep space known as the Anomaly (last seen in 2012's The Explorer), Mira is the one who wins the chance to go to space, while Tomas supports the mission from the ground. But things go horribly wrong, and the true isolation of space is more than Mira anticipated. VERDICT Despite a fairly unlikable protagonist in the awkward and socially inept Mira, his plight is devastating and the mystery of the Anomaly is completely compelling. The slow pace suits the story with an added spookiness that will give readers chills.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062287281
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 773,448
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

James Smythe has written scripts for a number of video games, and teaches creative writing in London. His previous novel was The Explorer.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 12, 2014

    Great read with unexpected ending!    

    Great read with unexpected ending!    

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2014

    Unusual & Thought Provoking

    Enjoyed more by Sci-Fi readers. Not the first in the series - some things might make more sense if I had read prequels first. Ending isn't clear, so that's good and bad. Lots of questions - much to ponder.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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