The Ancient Track – Christian Liberman

Sub-Lieutenant Clark Edwards stared through the porthole at the two HAN vessels burning in the distance. Were it not for the oxygen supply and fuel reserves, the flames would have died long ago, starved in the vacuum of space. The crew could have been spared the indignity of their asphyxiated corpses being charred beyond all recognition.’

The Ancient TrackWe fear the unknown…
But the unknown makes us curious.’
Humanity has made it to the stars. Although a destructive first encounter with the local alien races has left them tainted.
Ambassador for Earth, Darius Holland – together with a fleet of ships, and a thousand human civilians – intends to prove humanity’s worth to the galactic community.
Jack Wingate, as part of the mission, has forever turned his back on Earth and his past, seeking a new beginning out in the void.
Yet as they will soon discover, beings on both sides would rather events did not end peacefully, and the universe is a far darker place than anyone could have ever imagined

What I thought:

I don’t normally read space opera and can struggle with some more hard-core science fiction. Normally due to the pages of science explanation (for the record even if you don’t like sci-fi ‘The Martian’ has perfected the balance), but if it’s done well then it can be a great mirror for society and the problems within it. As a genre it’s about putting problems in a different world and amplifying them and ‘An Ancient Track’ continues to do so. It doesn’t shy away from religious issues, politics, racisim, and the dark underbellies of large cities.

With the discovery of not just evidence of life in space but hundreds of sophisiticated governments and an all out war happening around our small planet, it causes many people to have to readjust their view on life. Some people, such as Jack, relish in the idea that the possibility now exists to explore the universe, no matter how unlikely. Others see it as proof of the wonder of God, but there are others who see them as being literally devil sent especially when it is discovered that a lot of races have the same ‘Creator’ based figure of two arms and two legs.

This book follows two different main characters, Jack and Darius, their stories intertwine a couple of times but they are mostly separate, this allows for the reader to see the impact of alien life on humanity in different ways. Darius’ plot line is all about the politics and looking at the larger scale of things and the impact on humanity as a sum of the whole. Plus we get a great look as to how the different governments and alien races interact with each other as well as world building a ginormous universe teaming with life.
Jack’s story is a much more personal one about the wonder of space but that also allows for a look at the shadowy parts of life and the discovery that these things are not just found on Earth. It’s about looking at the consequences of the actions made at a higher level.

Why I read it:

I read the final draft of this because it’s written by one of my best friends. I’ve been with him through a lot of the writing and this is the second time I’ve read it. When I read it a couple of drafts ago it needed some changes but had a good solid base. This one has everything you want in a space opera.
I’m looking forward to him finally giving it to publishers and letting other people read it.

Final Thoughts:

This is a fun space romp. It’s got complex politics, plenty of different races and characteristics inside those races, just because they come from the same planet doesn’t mean they are same, as well as space battles.
Also when this is officially out I may slightly be gently throwing this book at people.

Would I recommend: HELL YES. If you like sci-fi this is great fun, but it’s also not too heavy with the science which means you can read it even if it’s not your preferred genre.

Challenges:

Popsugar: Local author (seeing as we meet at least once a week for a writing session I’d say that’s pretty local), borrowed/given as a gift, an allegory.

 

So this was a weird one to write cause it’s Christian’s book, I think I did a good job.
Normally I would ask you to comment if you’ve read this. But for obvious reasons you can’t do this, however I do want to slightly beg so I can push him to actually stop making excuses and just send it to people.
Therefore PLEASE leave a comment if this sounds like a book you would read, or if my review has made you interested. It really would mean a lot.

Thanks!

Rea

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3 thoughts on “The Ancient Track – Christian Liberman

  1. I’m like you in not being a frequent reader of space opera or hard sci-fi; I don’t read huge amounts of sci-fi at all, actually. Nevertheless, I would definitely like to read this. From your review, it sounds as though it addresses some of the issues I often have with the genre. I’m particularly keen on ‘just because they come from the same planet doesn’t mean they are same’. To quote the Hitchhiker’s Guide, ‘space is big’, and I think that lots of sci-fi passes up on an opportunity to make space feel big by writing whole planets as though they have a population of about a hundred people each.

    Your use of this book for the ‘allegory’ challenge intrigues me rather, and I would like to know more about whether it’s directly allegorical, with a one-to-one mapping of fictional characters/events to real ones, or whether it uses a looser kind of ‘applicability’ that acts more generally as a mirror of society. From your review, I would guess it’s the latter, but either has interesting potential. As you say, there’s a lot of potential for using sci-fi as a vehicle for social commentary. I can’t think offhand of many examples of sci-fi as direct allegory. C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy is a bit like that, though ‘alternate theology’ might be a more appropriate description (if you haven’t read it, suffice to say it’s deeply strange). I gather that the film District 9 is probably a better example, but I haven’t seen it so I can’t say. But I digress…

    Please do throw this at me when it’s officially out! You’ve definitely piqued my interest, and I’m curious to see how the interwoven-but-separate character plotlines are handled, and whether or not they come together at the end.

    Liked by 2 people

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