There’s a new publishing experiment in town. Inspired by a Hugh Howey post a few years ago, The Paradisi Chronicles is a multi-author, open-sourced science fiction world writ large across generations and galaxies. The founding authors released their first seven works—a combination of novels, short stories and novellas—on September 1st. I dipped my toe into this space opera extravaganza with Paradisi Escape by Tristan James.
In the last decades of the 21st century, as the Earth is slowly dying, a group of ten uber-rich, uber-powerful families called the Founders, contract with Reach Corporation to build eleven spaceships to carry them to a new planet. Ten ships will carry the Founders, the final ship will carry Solomon Reach and his 3000 “Reachers,” his band of super-loyal engineers. The remaining billions on planet Earth…well, nice knowing you.
But the Founders are a shifty bunch. They secretly bring up a few thousand of their own kind and plan to screw Solomon and the Reachers out of their ride. To add to the tension, just as the story opens, nuclear war breaks out on Earth, so there’s literally no going back home.
But Solomon’s got a few tricks of his own. When he learns of the plot to deceive him, he takes matter into his own hands.
Tech Lovers Unite!
The book is FULL of wonderful sci-fi tech details. Author Tristan James has done some serious homework to make sure the near-future technology, such as the space elevator, is done right. The space station has themed lounges and tons of little micro-G idiosyncrasies that had me saying “Gee, I never considered that,” more than a few times. Example: if you bleed in space, what happens? There’s a nasty torture scene where you get that question answered.
Warning: the tech can get overwhelming at times, but keep in mind that this novella is a tiny cog in the machine that is the Paradisi Chronicles.
The Reach of Solomon Reach
Solomon and his unlikely Founder accomplice, Dextra Justice, are characters that live and breathe on the page. Together, these two are forced to make a Sophie’s Choice on a grand scale: who gets the cryo beds on the SS Challenge–the 3000 Reachers or the stowed away Founders? Whoever stays is going to die. Period. How’s that for high stakes?
James’ writing was clean and the text well-edited, making the story fly by. There was only one problem…I have to wait for Book Two to find out how it all ends.
Well-written, tech-laden sci-fi. Get your taste of the Paradisi Chronicles with Paradisi Escape.
David Bruns is the creator of the sci-fi series The Dream Guild Chronicles, one half of the Two Navy Guys and a Novel blog series about co-writing a military thriller, and co-author of Weapons of Mass Deception, a story of modern-day nuclear terrorism.
Find out how to get the David Bruns Starter Library for free.