Rating:

4 Small Stars
Crucible of a Species
833

Dinosaurs and starships usually don’t mix well. But, they certainly do in this story. The Argos is Earth’s first interstellar starship built after rapid technological advancement provided by the Asteri. Based on information received from the Asteri, humanity had recently developed the Gravitonic or wave drive which meant humans could now go well beyond their own solar system. They immediately got a request, more of a summons, from the Asteri, to come to Tau Ceti. So that was the mission of the Argos and her crew.

The crew is a mix of military (Navy and Marines) and civilian scientist. While it was thought this mission would be one of immense scientific value, the military were along just to make sure things stayed peaceful. Colonel Daniel Drake, USMC, was the Project and Expedition Director and he was to ensure the mission was accomplished no matter what. Successfully accomplishing your mission is the ethos of every military person throughout human history. It is a paramount, overall other considerations and Col Drake was and had been pointing the expedition crew members towards that goal for quite some time now.

While still attached to Earth, his major headache was security. There had developed, in Earth’s society, a strong faction called Earth First which stated that humanity had too many troubles earth-bound to be spending billions on a questionable space effort. They also strongly suspected the motives behind the Asteri. Why did they want humanity to venture so far from their home planet? These people were determined to not allow the Argos to leave Earth.

Col Drake had instituted a “burdensome security network” while the Argos was being prepped for departure. It wasn’t enough! A shuttle carrying a mix of scientist and military crew-members blew up just before reaching the Skyport which almost caused the collapse of the space elevator and the Argos’ mission. These lapses in security would plague the entire mission from start to finish. Even with DNA screening available, numerous members of the scientific crew and even a number of the military were die-hard Earth Firsters. How they stayed a part of this crew is certainly a mystery to me. There should have not been one member of the scientific or military crew that hadn’t been vetted to the extreme considering the consequences of them sabotaging the mission while enroute to Tau Ceti.

So, where do the dinosaurs come in. Well, let’s say that the Argos successfully left Earth and headed towards Tau Ceti, by way of Jupiter. They needed to go to Jupiter to use its deep gravity well with subsequent gravity waves to sling-shot them to superluminal speeds towards Tau Ceti. Only, that didn’t happen. A bungled sabotage effort dropped the ship into Jupiter’s Giant Red Spot and subsequently, flunge the ship though what they later found out was a time warp! Although badly damaged, the ship worked it’s was out of the Jupiter gravity well, but soon realized they were not in the same solar system as that thought. In fact, they weren’t even in the same “when” they were supposed to be. No contact could be made with Earth or the Moon. After a short trip to Earth, they found it completely different than what they expected. This was Earth as it was 100 to 150 million years in the past.

Yes, now dinosaurs roamed the surface of Earth, devoid of any kind of civilization. How were they to fix their ship and get home? That’s the story from this point on.

I really liked the authors descriptions of the dinosaurs. He has taken the theory of dinos being related to modern day birds in that they have some plumage, i.e,.feathers and are very colorful. These are still very large meat eaters, which also happen to be very fast and highly intelligent. The interaction between the small humans and these natural predators is very exciting in this book. I personally would not want to have been part of this crew. I also would never had left the starship. It’s one thing to see large animals on Earth that usually react to humans by running away; these predators weren’t afraid of humans in the least, they don’t run away! They just thought humans were tiny snacks!

Good reading, very exciting, but, alas, I don’t know how this series continues with the ending as written.



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