by Jennifer Foehner Wells
Publisher: Blue Bedlam Science Fiction (June 18, 2014)
Category: Science Fiction: Space Opera, First Contact, Action-Adventure, Alien, Romance
Tour Date: March 2-April 30, 2015
Available in: Print & ebook, 373 Pages
Here’s the thing. Since the 1960’s NASA has known about the stationary alien spacecraft in the Greater Astroid Belt. They’ve kept quiet about it while waiting for technology to be developed to reach it.
Six astronauts launch into space to explore the ship in hopes of reverse engineering it’s technology. With no signs of life in all those years, they presumed it was empty. They were wrong.
I’ve just recently started reading science fiction again so I didn’t know what to expect with this book. What I got was action almost from the start. Once the crew enters the ship, actually right on the threshold, an alien presence makes itself known.
Jane Holloway, a linguist specializing in ancient languages, was selected to be our Earth Ambassador, and the alien communicated with her. Just her. No one else could hear it.
When the crew starts showing strange symptoms of an alien disease, the group dynamics crumble. They become paranoid. Delusional. Dangerous.
I couldn’t help but compare parts of the book to Sphere and First Contact. An invisible alien, alien contamination, mind warping. You add all this together and you get humans thinking aliens will be like us, think like us.
This story wouldn’t have worked without Jane. She’s the one who is quick to remind the others that this is an alien intelligence. It won’t act the way we expect. It’s far advanced from us. It will have it’s own agenda.
When the author described the ship and some of the alien technology, I once again drew from many movies so I could visualize for myself. Mainly from the Alien movies. For the alien, I actually visualized from an old Star Trek episode.
Being able to ‘see’ the story, I became immersed in the mission and characters. Most of them I could take or leave. They had their roles to play in the mission, but weren’t all that fleshed out.
Jane was the star and I enjoyed watching her move from being insecure to taking charge.
Bergen, the aeronautics engineer, was her love interest. The romance wasn’t a big deal, and could probably have been left out. It did make sense though. Isolated for ten months in space, someone is bound to connect with someone else.
There’s Walsh, the commander. He’s the self important type. His way is the right way and all that. A pain in the butt, is what he is.
Gibbs is what I call a handy man. He can do a little bit of everything and he plays the role of comic relief. I figured if anyone was going to die, he’d be first.
Ajaya is the flight surgeon, and I didn’t feel anything about her one way or the other. She seemed to follow the most popular opinions.
Tom Compton is the pilot and he too came across as wishy washy. That worked though, as he’s trained to fly machines, not to deal with the drama of the group.
I mentioned the alien. There’s more than one kind on the ship. The others are the ones I compared to a Star Trek episode. Quite nasty, and I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t have some deadly aliens.
The technology and jargon are easy to understand, the characters make the story work, the action gets intense, and the alien is unique and really out there.
I’m glad I read this book, as it’s a good taste of science fiction, and I hope the author takes the story further.
NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960s. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it.
The ship itself remained silent, drifting.
Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it’s an adventure she can’t refuse.
The ship isn’t vacant, as they presumed.
A disembodied voice rumbles inside Jane’s head, “You are home.”
Jane fights the growing doubts of her colleagues as she attempts to decipher what the alien wants from her. As the derelict ship devolves into chaos and the crew gets cut off from their escape route, Jane must decide if she can trust the alien’s help to survive.
Praise for “Fluency”
“Author Jennifer Wells’ writing genius comes from her vast knowledge of the highly technical subject matter and her ability to put the reader in the middle of it without losing him/her in technical jargon while creating characters that seem completely natural and believable.”– Jean Fisher for Independent Publisher News
“With her first novel, Jennifer Wells adds a fresh voice to the sci-fi genre and distinguishes herself as an author to watch.” –Theresa Kay, author of Broken Skies
“One of the runaway sci-fi hits on Amazon this year has been Jennifer Foehner Wells’ space thriller Fluency and quite frankly it’s a welcome addition to the genre.
Fluency moves at a breakneck pace in a very cinematic fashion, the narrative mostly linear with some minor flashbacks to fill in gaps in the back story. Wells does a fine job of dealing with the technical side of proceedings without resorting to complicated jargon (I know I know, some geeks love the jargon but not this one!) The human technology is believable and the alien technology while advanced, is also impressively practical.
While the strong female character has become a bit of a cliché in sci-fi over the past few years, it’s worth noting that many of these female characters have been written by men. What makes Fluency so refreshing is that Holloway’s character develops in a much more believable fashion given her circumstances. Sure she has to eventually toughen up and fight, but she’s much more than that. She’s a brilliant mind faced with a life-changing event and not just her life but the entire planet’s and her decisions will have monumental consequences. Her ability to focus is paramount and though it may seem she is being manipulated at times, she quickly takes control of her relationship with Ei’Brai. As the story reaches its gripping conclusion it also lays the groundwork for an exciting continuation of this rapidly unfolding saga.
Littered with plenty of nods and winks to classic sci-fi and some clever pop culture references, Fluency is a thrilling, bumpy ride that rarely falters and firmly cements Jennifer Foehner Wells’ standing in the indie scene as an innovative and refreshing new voice in modern sci-fi.”– Eamon Ambrose, Eamo The Geek
“A book that is just as appealing to women as it is to men. I’ll admit, I saw the beautiful cover and thought it was going to be old-school, hardcore sci-fi with lots of technobabble and women in service roles rather than command ones. By the time we got into space I was hooked, and only got more engrossed the further I went.
There’s no flab in this book. It starts out strongly and each scene is carefully considered in how it develops the characters and advances the plot. The pitch rises gradually until leveling off at the end, just as it should.
The prose is straightforward and lets the reading just flow. Dialogue made sense and there weren’t too many narrative sequences. Again, Jennifer Foehner Wells has taken care in crafting a balance of elements.
This is a pretty special book. It’s a modern take on sci-fi, and has a lot to offer. There’s a light romantic subplot, a first-contact scenario, and a high-stakes situation that seems unclear, then clear, then unclear again. This story isn’t predictable and it doesn’t rely on any timeworn tropes. Fluency is something new in fiction, and that always excites the hell out of me.”–Zen, Women of Badassery
Jennifer Foehner Wells lives an alternately chaotic and fairly bucolic existence in Indiana with two boisterous little boys, a supportive husband, a mildly unhinged Labrador retriever, and three adorable pet rats as housemates.
Having studied biology, Jen’s possessed with a keen interest in science and technology. She’s 100% geek and proud of it.
FLUENCY was Jen’s debut. It spent weeks in the Kindle Top 100, going as high as number 4. It remains prominent in several Science Fiction categories. It has garnered 848 five star reviews, to date.
Follow the Tour:
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Feminist Reflections Blog Mar 4 Review & Excerpt
Mindful Musings Mar 5 Review
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Paranormal Romance Mar 6 Review
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Reading Romances Mar 9 Review
The Book’s Buzz Mar 10 Review
What U Talking Bout Willis? Mar 11 Excerpt
Joy’s Book Blog Mar 12 Review, Interview, & Giveaway
Paradise Found Mar 13 Review, Interview & Excerpt
Literary R&R Mar 17 Review
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Pinky’s Favorite Reads Mar 18 Interview & Giveaway
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TrulySimplyPink Mar 27 Review & Excerpt
Deal Sharing Aunt Mar 30 Review
My Tangled Skeins Book Apr 1 Review, Guest Post, Excerpt,& Giveaway
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Mary’s Cup of Tea Apr 7 Review
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