Nadja Bikram traveled to the distant planet of Skiathos to work one problem, a puzzle that had vexed her for seven years. On reaching the savage desert world, she found the survey team she was to join in disarray and its leader missing. As a State Department officer, it was up to her to take command and sort things out, but she swiftly discovered the harsh and brutal landscape held a hidden danger so lethal and dreadful that it threatened them all. Nadja would need to use her every wit, risking her life and the lives of those around her, to discover its origin, but would she find the answer before it was too late?
Plot: The novel is a spacefaring adventure that is brave enough to focus on a single location. The worldbuilding is sound, and the plot which features a human survey team pulled into the civil war of a less-civilized alien race is exciting and even-paced.
Prose/Style: The writing is straightforward and readable. Exposition is clear, and dialogue flows effectively.
Originality: The novel reads a bit like a sci-fi Lawrence of Arabia, though it is in no way derivative of that work. The unique setting and scenario make for an exciting read which is able to compellingly address themes of colonialism.
Character Development: The protagonist subverts the typical military hero role of such works; instead, she behaves more like an anthropologist. The Lacertians are treated as more than props, though none are ultimately developed to the point of fully shedding “other” status.
Date Submitted: August 09, 2020
Great new voice in Science Fiction
Fantastic world building and interesting characters. Just like I hope his first novella (Werguild) becomes a series I hope this does as well.
Wonderfully strong female characters, a story where “first contact” is not the norm in science fiction. Highly recommend!
Nadja Bikram is lured to the planet of Skiathos (ebook from 3B Independent Publishers) because the language of the eight-foot tall Lacertians seems to be untranslatable. A former starship captain and noted linguist she and her team are perfect for the job. Unfortunately the survey team has lost its leader and is a mess. Searching for the missing scientist, Nadja’s skiff is shot down and she finds herself with the native Lacertians along with two marines who had survived a previous wreck are there to help her. Fortunately living with the natives, who are well adapted to their desert land, provides answers to their language and their food is edible. In an effort to get to place where she can signal the mission, she finds herself caught up in a war between her tribe and others. Boris L. Slocum has created fascinating aliens who are easy to identify with, and an interesting universe. I would really love another adventure with Nadja and Gunny, one of the marines. Highly recommended.Review printed by Philadelphia Free Press
Slocum created what is easily the most intriguing, engaging and mesmerizing alien world I have encountered. I couldn't get enough.
Skiathos is a well written, well told adventure story. The characters are likable, the plot is interesting, it is easy to read and enjoy. A linguistic expert arrives on a planet inhabited by sentient beings, and her mission is to decipher the language and establish communications. But shortly after her arrival, things begin to go wrong. She is rescued by the indiginous people, and the adventure begins. I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway, and my rating is four plus stars.
This is outside my typical genre but was a great book. Descriptive without being mundane. Imaginative but not too far fetched. Overall quite enjoyable. Only complaint is that there are too many names/characters to keep straight.