The Metalmark Contractby David Batchelor
The alien Metalmark offered mankind a starship and its advanced technology in a trade for the rights to planet Mercury and moon Triton. What could go wrong? But his appearance sent the nations of Earth into turmoil as many people suspected danger and a trick. Our dreams of futuristic breakthroughs made Metalmark a celebrity in the West, but inflamed the Islamic world. A scientist with the space agency and a CIA spy became two of Metalmark's defenders. Our chance to join superior beings and travel the stars depended on the clash of futurists with ancient traditions. Could he sell us the means to a quantum jump in progress? But . . . he wanted Mercury and Triton for habitats where his species could spawn . . . what did that mean?
- Black Rose Writing
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- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.57(d)
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As a navigator for many real spacecraft, I am usually sadly disappointed at the lack of realism in most SF. This book is a rare and treasured exception. The physics appears sound, and the imagination is bold. I thoroughly enjoyed this first Metalmark book and am eager to read the next installment!
“The Metalmark Contract” is book one of a proposed 3-book series. It explains in great detail the story of Metalmark - a technologically advanced alien - first coming in contact with Earth. Metalmark looks human, is friendly on the surface, and goes to great lengths to be liked by the world population. The reasons behind his actions, and his species’ history, slowly and naturally unfold. There are dozens of characters in The Metalmark Contract. Even though that number is high, the story is smooth and straightforward (there is a listing of the characters and their roles in the back of the book; however, I did not have to use it). Certain characters are more significant, and the chapters are written from their unique perspectives. This creates a well-rounded and connected story. The scientific, political, and geographical information in the book is impressive. It is evident that the author was knowledgeable on these topics and performed extensive research. I have no disbelief about the details of the book. The Metalmark Contract is enjoyable to read and eventful. There are twists to the story that make it captivating, but the events are also logical. The writing is near flawless and the wording is solid. I can tell the author spent a good deal of time creating this well-written and precisely edited book. I recommend The Metalmark Contract to readers who are interested in futuristic technology, creative story-telling, memorable characters, an imaginative plot, and world events. I look forward to reading the sequel.
Now although it might not seem it to anyone who reads this blog, but I generally don't read books set in our world. I don't tend to enjoy them as much as those set in different ones. But occasionally there is one such book that I really enjoy. This is one of them. But before you read any further, I have a warning. This seems to be the first in a duology/trilogy/series/something. I didn't realise this, and it doesn't seem to say anywhere online or on the book except for the words "End of Book One" after the end of the narrative. Because I didn't realise this, I was a little disappointed when the story didn't reach it's full conclusion. But the rest of the plot was very interesting. A lot of the ideas, which I don't really want to talk about as they would be spoilers, were fascinating or perceptive. They range from political opinions of the contract to the scientific ideas of how Metalmark and his technologies worked and existed. They were quite fascinating. But as in any book that I give merit to, the characters were the highlight of the book. For me, in particular, the best characters were Metalmark himself, the "Taikonaut" Liu Xueli and Pres. Jackson. I also liked Dr. Steve Simmons before he got a job with Metalmark - afterwards I felt his relationships developed a bit too quickly, unless I misunderstood the timescale. I was particularly fascinated with Liu Xueli and her position as a Taikonaut. (Chinese Astronaut, I'm not sure if this is set in an alternative present or a few years in the future - I went with the latter in my mind). At first I didn't like her, but once I realised how deceptive she could be I started to like her more, and with every scene I seemed to like her more. I would have to say that she was probably my favourite Character, although Metalmark did come close. The main problems that I had with the book were mainly formatting and narrative problems. Such as websites being underlined as if they were an actual link. Some of them anyway - some weren't, which makes me suspect that this is something from a word processor rather than an intention.The first is one that I seem to have found in quite a few books in the last couple of weeks, and that is the use of parentheses. I find that it breaks the flow of narrative or dialogue, and although I found their use somewhat appropriate on one occasion, it still made me withdraw from the sense of being "in the book". The other thing that I found hard to read was the abbreviations. Things like Sec. Jen. and Pres. I found to be non-conducive to easy reading. I felt that it was unnecessary and that the full titles would have worked a lot better. Especially at the start of the book when I had to remember what they all meant. The same was true of acronyms, NASA, CIA, UN are all recognisable worldwide, but EPA, ESA, and a few others are less clear. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and many of the ideas it contains. The abbreviations and acronyms annoyed me a bit, but not so much that I didn't enjoy the book. It ended weakly, but hopefully that will be resolved in the sequel. But the majority of the book was very good, with an admittedly large cas