A stagnating humanity is crushed onto seven small worlds, while the enigmatic union of alien life seems to set impossible goals to qualify for contact. When a discharged mental patient finds himself bankrupt, his only escape is to venture further into the cosmos than he ever dreamed.
Do his inner demons hold the secret to peace with our stellar neighbours? Or will a fanatical leader and his cult return humanity to the dark ages?
The Pollutant Speaks guides the reader through a future universe to experience alien languages, philosophies and drama.
“Was it any wonder that an alien super-culture wasn’t interested in talking to us?” Evans wonders. But the Border still prepares, and the diverse supporting characters that surround Evans not only breathe life into the narrative but also prompt Evans to confront his beliefs and shift his worldviews. Crossley, a self-proclaimed messiah, proves a formidable antagonist, orchestrator of the devastating “Crush” incident that led to financial ruin for Evans and countless others, and now dedicated to sabotage the Border’s efforts. Cochran cleverly uses dark developments to catapult Evans from passive protagonist to determined leader, armed with knowledge and a “Para ring” as he plans a meticulous assault on the formidable g-Russ, a five-headed being who possesses the key to Crossley's downfall.
Telling this surprising story with brisk efficiency despite rich concepts, a sense of poetry, and welcome literary ambition, Cochran deftly portrays the power of human minds to learn, teach, and stand up to the worst of our species. Evans’s journey of self-realization and redemption features fascinating and sometimes head-spinning development of Para language and future technology. This will delight lovers of thoughtful, ambitious science fiction.
Takeaway: Ambitious first-contact novel with humanity on the verge of collapse.
Comparable Titles: Peter Cawdron’s Whatever Seeds May Fall, Nancy Kress’s Tomorrow’s Kin.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-