A ship has vanished in the dark, in the very outer reaches of Earth's solar system. Alien invaders sweep through the void, destroying outposts and threatening humanity. The truth is known only to a few: We fired first. We fired on aliens whose very appearance and body language sent all humans into a flying rage. All but a few. Now an autistic savant from Mars and an alien diplomat seek peace...while some on both sides desire only conflict. Suza McRae and Haniyar must bridge the gap between their species, or risk a war that will destroy everything and everyone in its path.
|Publisher:||Jennifer R. Povey|
|File size:||371 KB|
About the Author
Jennifer R. Povey is in her early forties, and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband. She writes a variety of speculative fiction, whilst following current affairs and occasionally indulging in horse riding and role playing games. Her short fiction sales include Analog, Cosmos, and Digital Science Fiction, and her first novel was published by Musa Publishing in April of 2013.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Transpecial reads like a first draft and desperately needs a better editor. It looked like a good book, and came recommended by a friend - though I no longer recall which friend. I don't believe I'd have finished the novel without the recommendation, as it's a collection of tropes and cliches held together by a handful of interesting ideas. The premise is that some time after achieving interstellar spaceflight, an alien race makes first contact. The contact is in the form of a ship-to-ship video message, and the alien is so horrifying that it triggers the fight-or-flight response in any human viewing it. The human ship immediately fired on the alien ship, and it appeared that war might be inevitable even as both races scrambled to come up with diplomatic options. The humans determine their only hope is an autistic girl with an interest in linguistics. I was looking forward to reading a book whose protagonist is on the autistic spectrum, and female, both awfully rare things in SF/F. I feel Suza's portrayal was accurate and fair, but was unfortunately weighed down by the rough writing. - All of the characters spend a lot of time speaking lines that appear to be culled from the trailers for formulaic action films. - Unrealistic and awful romance is shoe-horned in as the white male ex-military hero character tries to get back with his ex-wife. - White male ex-military hero makes a point of evaluating every woman he encounters in terms of whether he would have sex with her. Spoiler: he wants to have sex with basically all of them. - Multiple interesting technologies that may make it easier to find peace with the aliens are introduced only to be disregarded within a sentence or two without explanation. -- For instance, the humans have achieved super-human AI. This is brought up multiple times, as is the possibility of analyzing the message using an AI. But we don't do that because apparently the AI also immediately experiences fight-or-flight? This is weird and bears exploration, or should have been left out. - We have other linguists but they are put on a bus early, possibly because one is black and the other is a lesbian. - Novel experiences a long and wandering middle section in which ships and individuals are attacked repeatedly by unknown assailants and we don't know why and no one particularly suspects espionage. Spoiler: there was espionage. The chapters following Suza and those following the alien protagonist were interesting even as they suffered from the above issues and more, but ultimately the job of reading this novel was a slog and I kind of want my time back.