Monday, January 12, 2009

Book Review: The Quiet Invasion

I finally read the end of Sarah Zettel's book "The Quiet Invasion" last night. You'll see book reviews on this site come in fits and bursts. See, I tend to do most of my reading on the subway, in a coffee shop, in the park, etc. Somewhere not at home. I don't want to carry two books so I'll carry one that I know I can't finish during one outing. So then I have several books with only 12 pages left sitting in a pile. Sometimes you just have to suck it up, lie on the bed with some chocolates, and finish that book.

In this book mankind has moved out to the neighboring planets and satellites. There's a large Mars colony, a lunar colony, asteroid mining colonies, and a large pure research base on Venus. The Venus colony houses not just the researchers, but their families and a large support staff as well. But they and the rest of the colonies are still under the thumb of Earth. There have been revolutions but they've always been squashed and new restrictions put on. For example, they can't have their own ships. They must rely on Earth for all their import/export needs.

Then one day a clearly manufactured structure is found on Venus. It must be alien.

Aliens on their home planet have a problem. Their cities are large, flying, living vessels. Everyone, including the cities, eats by absorbing this nutritional stuff in the air that is put off by the vast forest that covers the surface of the planet. But now there's some kind of cancerous plague. It has destroyed great swaths of forest and is killing off some of the cities. So they send out probes to try to seed other planets with life. It only takes on one planet. Big surprise, it's Venus.

The alien structure on Mars turns out to be a fake. Humans probably made this. Someone is running a scam. On the way back from the initial inspection the shuttles crash and the aliens come out of hiding to save who they can from one of the shuttles and put them in the non-ruined but still crashed shuttle.

So there's two worlds failing.
The Venus research lab is having trouble making ends meet because all they do is study Venus. There's no return on investment. The leader had hoped that finding an alien artifact would increase interest and funding and maybe even lead to them getting out from under Earth's thumb.
The alien planet's cities and food are dying.
So diplomatic talks are opened.

The book covers the political issues on the ground for both sides and the talks between the Venusians and the aliens. The aliens want a place to live. The humans want help in defending themselves against Earth if Venus tries to break free. The aliens see that Earth is willing to cut off the food supply for Venus if Venus doesn't obey. Their conclusion is that Earth humans are insane and must be exterminated. Other aliens think that the Venus human are dangerous and they must be destroyed so the aliens can keep Venus to themselves.

It was a decent book, but clearly not one I was driven to pick up at every free moment. I'd be willing to read something else by this author.

1 comment:

Sweetly Single said...

sounds like a cool book