Falling Up (The Flying Crooked Series Book 2) by Geoff Nelder (ebook review).

The follow up to ‘Suppose We’, ‘Falling Up’ is the second book in ‘The Flying Crooked’ series. In ‘Suppose We’, titled after the spaceship, four human colonists arrived in the Kepler system and landed on Kepler-20h to explore and assess its suitability for human colonisation. The crew consisted of a two-fisted American Commander named Penn, French science officer Gaston and two talented females, Delta and Em.

After certain adventures, they established contact and friendly relations with the native Keps, members of an ancient civilisation who look like oblong balloons but can pass straight through a human. Communicating with them was difficult and matters were complicated by developments with the Suppose We AI, CAN, which has grown more independent.

As ‘Falling Up’ begins, the humans are still exploring the planet and its wonders but there are several crises building. The Keps have allowed human genomes to be spliced onto their native bacteria, partly to help with a plague that almost wiped them out but Gaston isn’t sure that the combined human and Kep genomes won’t mutate into something dangerous.

Delta is very ill with some unknown medical condition. Worst of all, a race of alien AIs is attacking the Kep system in retaliation for the Keps stealing a giant sphere of gas from them. The Keps didn’t know it belonged to anyone but the AIs now think the Keps are a threat and so attack. Keps are pacifists and prefer not to fight if they can avoid it and definitely don’t want to kill any sentient species. They send Em out to negotiate with the invaders for the pleasing reason that humans can lie and cheat.

As in ‘Suppose We’, the story moves swiftly and there are plenty of technological marvels. Author Geoff Nelder is very much in the ‘sense of wonder’ school of Science Fiction and has the technical know-how to make his creations realistic.

He’s on a par with Arthur C. Clarke for coming up with amazing gadgets, I was reminded of ‘Rendezvous With Rama’, but probably better at portraying human frailty and stupidity in some cases, mostly with the men. He’s also up there with E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith when it comes to cosmic awe, shifting planets around and slicing up moons with gay abandon but in a more matter of fact fashion than Smith.

This is another good dose of old-fashioned Science Fiction with likeable characters and a positive outlook but updated with modern scientific knowledge. Most SF fans should enjoy it.

Eamonn Murphy

December 2019

(pub: LL-Publications. 142 page 868kB ebook. Price: £ 2.39 (UK), $ 2.99 (US). ASIN: B082P9XV1S

check out websites: www.ll-publications.com/ and https://amzn.to/2u5mYOR

Eamonn Murphy

Eamonn Murphy reviews books for sfcrowsnest and writes short stories now and then. Website: https://eamonnmurphywriter298729969.wordpress.com/

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