I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Incredible Star Portal by John M. Donald
Published by Austin Macauley on January 31st 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Alien Contact, Fiction, Science Fiction
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John M Donald has come up with a science fiction novel that echoes the best of the genre, where there are physical reasons for each development and no star ship exceeds the speed of light, though there are ingenious solutions to that problem of which the Star Portal is one. The story is compelling, the plot tight without one unnecessary character and the aliens are fiendishly smart.The Incredible Star Portal is a solid epic where astronauts emerge from suspension into a world a thousand years into the future. The reader is presented with strange and incredible discoveries - from the regression of Earth's population to the peculiar world of Pastoral and the tyranny of the Narax.John M Donald doesn't believe in a cast of thousands; there are two aliens - or is one an ultra-computer? - and a core team of four to provide a range of personalities who exchange wry banter that is often witty. John M Donald's ideas follow in the vein of classic sci-fi without falling into the trap of being overused or clichéd, resulting in a confident mix of fresh ideas that engages from cover to cover.
A crew of astronauts wake on an alien planet light years from home after a ship malfunction caused their historical exploration of a near by star system to be cut short. Once they return home to Earth they realize that a thousand years have passed and humanity is now a brutish shadow of their formerly civilized and technologically savvy selves. The crew also discovers a strange portal close to Earth that leads to other galaxies, with ancient secrets and has a tenuous relationship with an alien race. In an effort to save themselves the crew must discover what happened on Earth during their absence, survive on a hostile alien world thousands of light years from home and find a way to return home to Earth. Unfortunately, they are tiny unsuspecting pawns in an intergalactic struggle between two ancient and sentient civilizations.
I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. The summary, although interesting, doesn’t really do the plot justice. It’s a true science fiction that reads like a classic with plenty of science and adventure. I also kind of felt the title doesn’t really do the book justice either because this novel is about so much more than the star portals. The Incredible Star Portal is about human survival, the tale of the last technologically advanced humans and the dangers of space travel. Honestly, the title doesn’t even begin to describe the scope of this novel beyond the portals.
I was never certain what was going to happen next with strange portals to other universes, an alien nemesis and some really interesting new worlds popping up throughout the book to keep me on my toes. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending because it left so many mysteries unsolved. Obviously this is book one of a series (I hope!), but I’m an impatient reader. I want to know who built the star portals and the true nature of the Builders now! I don’t want to wait until the next installment of the series!
The Incredible Star Portal is a forgotten gem in the science fiction genre and is definitely worth the read. Exceptionally written and fascinating, I really recommend reading!
If you are a lover of traditional science fiction filled with factual information, interesting world building and fantastic sci-fi writing, The Incredible Star Portal is for you. I adored this book mainly because it was written like Finch and Asimov, but with its own brand of mystery and adventure. I cared about the characters and actually found myself obsessing over the star portals, their secrets and the idea of super ancient and sentient technology. It’s not often I find a science fiction novel that really hooks me in without some serious background information on the characters, world and history of the universe, but I was able to slip into this novel from the first page.
This book will appeal to readers who enjoy science fiction, mystery and intelligent writing. The Incredible Star Portal is a novel about more than just portals to other universes, it is about humanity, our ties to planet Earth, alien contact and survival against all odds. A fantastic read for adventure, sci-fi and classic lovers. Its also a lovely novel filled with British language and culture that adds a wonderful flair to the author’s writing style.