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The Mars One Incident
Kelly Curtis. Kelly Curtis, $2.99 e-book (246p) ISBN 978-1-07-922841-0
Curtis debuts with a competently plotted but rough-around-the-edges far-future adventure, the launch of her Unification series. Alma Hattie Johnson, a newly minted spaceship captain in the Joint Confederacy, a governing body that has banned technology for all but a select few, defies orders to destroy a ship full of pirates. As punishment, Alma is sent on what ought to be a mundane supply run to nearby Mars One station. But as rival political factions infiltrate the government, Alma’s politics and competency are called into question and she’s again forced to choose between her orders and her sense of right and wrong. Curtis moves the plot along quickly, often at the expense of scene-setting and emotional impact, frequently informing (rather than showing ) how characters are feeling, and offering interpretations for plot points that need no explanation. This surface-level telling hampers what might otherwise be an immersive space opera. Despite these limitations, however, the worldbuilding is engaging and the character dynamics are capably imagined. Readers willing to look past this story’s flaws will see plenty of potential for the series to come. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 02/28/2020