In the very near future a space crew uses dark matter to power a trip to explore disturbances in dark matter they believe represents a signal from another planet's intelligent life.
The ship’s designer is an expert in dark matter who had embraced Orthodox Judaism and brought his prayer group on board, and claims to be using dark matter to create wormholes in space. The ship is financed and controlled by an IT billionaire and germophobe. The ship’s captain, and the principal protagonist, Lucy Howard, is a young female ex-astronaut who becomes close to the ship’s science officer, a veteran astronaut and an African-American woman physician. Other crewmembers include an Indian-American IT technician haunted by the recent death of his pregnant wife in an auto accident, and a security officer plagued by his guilt in the death of a young girl in Afghanistan.
The crew is half-way through the voyage when they hit a patch of intense dark matter that causes the crew to relive the most traumatic points of their lives. They emerge transformed by that experience—e.g., the germophobe billionaire transfers his consciousness to the ship’s computer, and his administrative assistant is possessed by the dybbuk spirit of her dead brother.
The crew then learns the scientist’s secret—dark matter, the unknown stuff that makes up 95 percent of the universe, is the sefirot, the mystical body of God. The prayer group are the real engine of the ship, moving it through spiritual space using Kabbalistic meditation techniques amplified by concentrated dark matter. The aliens they visit have learned to harness dark matter for power, and their science is torturing the soul of their planet--The signal that drew them to this other world was the sound of the soul of a planet screaming.
When they arrive on what seems to be a dead planet, they lose their link to earth. When they explore a large earthen mound near the ship, something in the mound starts to take possession of the crew. The IT billionaire, who has transferred his consciousness to the ship’s quantum computer, joins forces with this alien threat. Lucy, the captain, has to fight both the ship’s computer and an alien force that threatens not just the crew, but the future of Earth.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.25 out of 10
Plot: This action-packed odyssey takes readers on a long-winded journey in which each character is forced to face their biggest fears - their own regrets. While a bit daunting, it still has a solid plot that capably carries readers through its many twists and turns.
Prose: Gorsky writes in a clear and unassuming tone, paying meticulous care to dates and settings as he unfolds the intricate details of the story.
Originality: At times it feels as though Gorsky has thrown the entire kitchen sink of sci-fi themes and ideas into the book, making for a sometimes dizzying, yet greatly exciting, story. The central premise--a crew encounters dark matter that impacts them each on a profound emotional and psychological level--is a fantastic hook.
Character/Execution: Gorsky does an admirable job of fleshing out the backstories and personalities of each character. The diverse and well-rounded supporting cast goes a long way toward making this a rich and psychologically complex story.
Date Submitted: August 09, 2022