The Florians by Brian Stableford

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Why I Read It: I needed an epic scifi, seed the galaxy kind of story.

Where I Got It: Review ecopy from the publisher (thanks!)

Who I Recommend This To: If you are conflicted about spending money on the Space Program, this book has great arguments on both sides, all wrapped in an engaging story.

Publisher: Wildside Press (2012)

Length: 203 pages

Series: Daedalus Mission 1

Alex Alexander believes in the need for the human race to spread itself throughout the universe, starting with the nearest inhabitable planets. Earth sent ships to colonize these planets decades ago and then the governments of Earth sank into chaos. Alex, a scientist and adventurer, sees hope in reigniting Earth’s efforts to populate the galaxy by sending a crew on the Daedalus mission to reforge meaningful contact with the surviving colonies.

Brian Stableford told this story through Alex’s eyes using his endless hope, his keen intellect, and his sometimes rash decision-making abilities to keep me very entertained. The crew is made up of a variety of scientists (like Karen), and communicators of one sort or another (Nathan & Mariel). The planet of Floria is the first on the stop. The Daedalus Mission is to provide scientific assistance with any difficulties the colonists may be having permanently adapting to their new planet. In all ways, the Florians appear on the surface to be completely adapted, healthy, with a strong spreading colony. Yet Alex isn’t convinced – all the Earthly transplants are giants compared to Earth norms – the Florians averaging 7-9 feet tall. Watching Alex peel apart this mystery, exploring the odd native flora and fauna of Floria, was a treat for the biologist in me.

The Florians presented a nice quandary about a society kept intentionally ignorant of certain lines of science, such as those leading to firearms. Having the Daedalus, ignorant, unexpected strangers, set down in the midst of an ongoing power struggle between two components of that society provided an engaging background for Alex to do his thing: figure out if the Florian society  is viable long-term. Imagine being surrounded by giants, in a situation where your physical resistance is futile, leaving you to rely on your wits. I am so glad it was Alex’s wits, and not my own, that uncovered the mystery of the Florians.

What I Liked: The weird, creepy, crawly fauna of Floria; the book opens with an excellent debate covering the pros and cons of spending money on a space program; Alex’s sense of humor; the mystery at the heart of Floria.

What I Disliked: While there was 1 key female support character, I would have liked the women to have a bit more central role.

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