It's May 1978 and a normal night at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah--until a bogey shows up in their restricted air space. It gets even stranger when the UFO requests permission to land. It changes its mind, but by then F-16s escort it to the ground. A human girl in her early teens and a robot exit the craft, a strange botanical lifeform found onboard later that night by a USAF landing party. The vehicle, robot, and strange plant are impounded and subsequently sent to Area 51.
NASA astrobiologist, Gabriel Greenley, is called in to study this new lifeform that at first appears similar to a botanical species known as oxalis. As a psi-sensitive, Greenley quickly learns the specimen is highly intelligent and potentially dangerous when he attempts to take a leaf sample. He backs off, frustrated, desperate to investigate the scientific details of this new botanical species that combines intelligence with a metabolism based on photosynthesis. Meanwhile, the specimen, a flora peda telepathis named Thyron from the planet Sapphira, is investigating his new environment through all frequencies of the electro-magnetic spectrum as well as his suite of psychic abilities that includes remote viewing.
Greenley eventually gets his leaf sample and makes a ground-breaking discovery that he can never share, due to his security oaths and research agreement at this Top Secret facility. Before long, however, he's confronted by an ethical dilemma that forces him to make a treasonous and potentially deadly decision.
A finalist in the 2017 Book Excellence Awards, this unique combination of hard science fiction, suspense, intrigue, and a touch of humor has been described as a "dark version of ET: The Extraterrestrial." Strong characterizations, a mysterious setting loaded with intrigue, and unexpected plot twists make this an unforgettable tale whether you're a science fiction fan, botanist, UFO aficionado, or simply enjoy a good story.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I jumped right into the seventh book of the Star Trails Tetralogy series and hoped I wouldn’t be completely lost not having read the previous books—I wasn’t! What I found was an amazingly well-written science fiction story set in the 1970’s with my new favorite character: Thyron the highly intelligent plant. I was immediately drawn into the story with the spaceship ending up on earth while a plant was hiding from authorities. Soon, the ships passengers: a young human girl, a robot, and Thyron ended up “contained” in area 51. An astrobiologist Gabe, is called in to help with the plant-life. Gabe soon finds out his sensitivity, helps him communicate with Thyron. This was my favorite part of the book. It was insightful and humorous with the relationship between human and plant. There’s also a lot of depth and research that makes this a fascinating journey with aliens, humans, plants and robots. The ending fueled my imagination. I’ll be reading the rest of this series and hope to explore and learn more about Thyron and friends! I highly recommend this book!
The author - Marcha Fox - is a most intriguing individual. She’s moved from being a NASA rocket scientist to becoming an explorer of the hidden mysteries of the universe. What sort of discoveries will she make on her bold journey? Well, I for one, want to find out, and where better to start than through her Sci-Fi novels. The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51 is a remarkable book with a highly original premise. Thyron is an intelligent and telepathic plant, retrieved from a UFO and taken for study by Gabe – a top botanist. The success of this story comes from the touching relationship that develops between Gabe and Thyron – man and plant. As Thyron struggles to make sense of Gabe and 1970s culture there are many moments of exquisite comedy that made me laugh out loud. I’m no botanist but the scientific descriptions and explanations seem entirely credible. Science has just begun to reveal that plants are a lot more aware of their environment than we previously thought possible. It does not seem beyond the bounds of possibility that, elsewhere in the cosmos, intelligent plant life has evolved. Like all good Sci-Fi writers, Marcha Fox opens our minds to these possibilities and makes us think “What if?” As I write I can just see my office rubber plant out of the corner of my eye. I swear the leaves just moved … as if it’s trying to attract my attention. For anyone that likes hard Sci-Fi delivered with great humour, I can thoroughly recommend The Terra Debacle. I loved it!
Reviewed by Paul F. Murray for Readers' Favorite The Terra Debacle by Marcha Fox will appeal to readers who like a hefty dose of science with their science fiction. A UFO has crash-landed in Utah in 1978, and one of its occupants is a sentient plant named Thyron. A NASA researcher, Gabe Greenley, befriends the sentient plant as he studies it to determine if it can see, think, feel, and talk as a human can. Finally deciding that it can, Greenley telepathically communicates with Thyron and eventually empathizes with the plant in its desire to not be stuck in Area 51 in Nevada forever, and to return to its home planet, Sapphira. At risk to his own life, Greenley - with the help of a sentient, snarky extraterrestrial robot - works to try to help Thyron escape. But then, Thyron is torn—does he want to return to Sapphira, or does he want to stay on Earth with his beloved new friend, Gabe? I liked the idea behind The Terra Debacle by Marcha Fox: a science fiction novel that actually has some science in it, albeit a lot, and has a unique plot which is a refreshing alternative to the endlessly rehashed plots in other sci-fi novels about space battles and star ships. But be aware—the science in this novel is real. There are a lot of five-, six-, and seven-syllable words here. The Terra Debacle will appeal to the sort of reader who can comprehend language such as, for example, “ethidium bromide”, “p-hydroxybenzoic acid”, “electrophoresis”, and “multi-dimensional photonic crystal morphometry”. An actual background in science and/or engineering might be helpful in reading The Terra Debacle.