An experimental ship crashes on Janus, a Saturn moon, but an alien ship is also there. James Hayden and his crew take out their new ship ‘Gossamer Goose’ to recover the wrecked ship and make contact with the aliens. When they get to Janus, there is no sign of the alien probe. They land on Janus, repair the damaged ship, and fly it to a holding orbit. They take ‘Gossamer Goose’ to investigate some mysterious lights on the other side of Janus, and find primitive life. Further investigation to be done in subsequent missions. Departing Janus, the alien probe attacks and destroys ‘Goose’. The crew take to the survival capsule and make for the repaired ship, but the alien probe ejects the survival capsule with James and two of his crew before the ship is destroyed. How they all extricate themselves is worthy of a rollercoaster ride.
I love hard science fiction, and S.D. Falchetti has certainly delivered a hard story with Janus-2. The author has everything here: a recovery, an odd crew, a hostile – apparently – alien ship, disaster, and an ending which … but never mind. Readers will have to find out for themselves. It is a well written story filled with enough technical and procedural jargon to satisfy any techie, because that’s all there is. There isn’t a whole lot of genuine emotional interaction, and the characters are fairly bland. For readers who enjoy straightforward action and technology, Janus-2 will provide a diverting evening read. Not a bad effort, S.D. Falchetti.
This book is available on Amazon.com.
About the author
I wrote my first story at the age of eighteen. I had a work/study job at the college computer lab, and, after completing all of my tasks of refilling the printer paper and testing the mice, I sat down and slipped a five-and-a-quarter inch disk into the drive. The Word Perfect screen greeted me with a blinking cursor. Each day I would type out a few more paragraphs, maybe a scene. I’d been reading R.A. Salvatore at the time, and, not surprisingly, wove a tale of elves, wars, and magic swords. The three hundred page manuscript was printed out on a dot matrix printer, three hole punched, and slid into a black binder. The story rode along with me and five friends in a sixteen-hour road trip to St. Louis, giving me the perfect captive audience for reading my first draft. I remember awaking abruptly at a midnight gas stop, a pop, and firelight flickering from the seams of the car hood. The Monte Carlo’s doors opened and I tumbled out onto the asphalt with my friends. Flames shot behind us from the engine. The more courageous fetched extinguishers from the mini-mart and sprayed the car fire. Fire trucks wheeled in and firefighters began laying down streams of water, finally ramming and pushing the car clear of the gas pumps. The remote station road was a cavalcade of red and white flashing lights. When it was all finished, a metal skeleton was all that remained of our car, and we blinked in disbelief, stranded three hundred miles from home. No one was hurt, but there was one casualty. My story sat in the backseat.
I tried not to think of this as a sign.
But there was still the computer lab, and the blinking white cursor, and stories to be written. They weren’t very good, but I had fun writing them. I submitted a few to magazines, and like most starting writers, got the polite rejection notes. I completed my degree in mechanical engineering and went on to become an engineer, a husband, a father. The stories took a back seat as life churned on.
One of the perks of being a dad is that you get to tell many stories. Not just stories that you read, but stories you create. Each night when I tuck my daughter in to bed, I say, “What should our story be tonight?”. She gives me the setting, “A little girl and a cupcake factory that’s gone crazy.” It’s a little like a Whose Line is it Anyway sketch, creating the scene on the spot.
And it makes me think of that blinking cursor, and all of those stories I wanted to tell.
So, I opened up my laptop and started pecking away. Technology has changed since those five-and-a-quarter inch disk days, and now I can independently publish. I’m stepping up to the plate, taking a swing at the ball, and seeing how far I can run.
Contact S.D. Falchetti here.