Saturday 25 February 2023

Under An Orange Sky - Manuel Alfonseca - Solar System Book 1

Under An Orange Sky
Solar System Book 1
Manuel Alfonseca
ISBN 9781540889058

This is the sixteenth time I have read a book by Manuel Alfonseca, and I have read thirteen different books a few of them twice. I have had this one for a few years now, I believe I have had the eBook for 5 years, but had not got around to reading it. While researching for this review I found I have already picked up the other two volumes in this series, the second from the same eBook retailor and book three from another. This one grabbed my attention again while writing a review of another volume by Alfonseca. I am very thankful it did. For this is another excellent offering from Alfonseca’s pen. One of the descriptions of this volume states:

“By the year 2041, the Earth government has decided to start the colonizacion of Mars. On October 3rd,the space ship Adventure leaves towards the planet with reporter Irene Pinedo, who will transmit to the Earth the incidents of the exciting hourney. After they reach Mars, Irene makes two sensational discoveries that put her in confrontation with her chiefs and the Earth government, in a conflict of interest.

A disturbing science-fiction novel, where strange adventures mix with a critical view of the selfishness of colonization.”

The last sentence in this description is not included in most online descriptions but I find it is of great importance. Once I started reading this volume I could hardly put it down. And much like while I was reading The History of the Earth-9 Colony
I often thought of other books that have had a great influence on me over the years. The three volumes that came to mind are:

Solaris - Stanisław Lem
The Space Trilogy – C.S. Lewis
Ishmael Trilogy – Daniel Quinn

Also the whole time I was reading this I could not help but picture author ML Clark as the main character and even hear the story in her voice. I even reached out to Clark to mention that. This volume ends with a clear lead into the next volume. While researching for this review I discovered it was part of a trilogy. One of my favourite table top games is Terraforming Mars, and I have been reading the academic work Terraforming Mars edited by Martin Beech, Joseph Seckbach, Richard Gordon. This volume looks at the science and also the ethics of possible human terraforming of mars. I have also recently read In the Shadow of Deimos by Jane Killick Terraforming Mars Book 1 a novelization based on the game and gameplay. This story could easily be a prelude or back story to both of those works.   

This was a fascinating story. It is a short volume and as mentioned the ending leads directly into the next volume in the series. It truly does echo C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy. I was hooked from beginning to end. I could hardly put the book down. Manual’s writing in this story is excellent, even though I felt echoes of other stories the way he has handled the material and the themes and consequences he presents are very well written. Alfonseca does his own translation work in this and other stories. I have stated before that for me there is a feel of Jose Saramango and Gabriel García Márquez in his works.  

This is an excellent science fiction story and I can easily recommend it.

Note: When I first reviewed this I noted that “The big difference is this story ends very abruptly. I even went back and downloaded the book again in case it was an incomplete download.” The author reached out and informed me that an early upload of the book was missing a section. If your copy ends with “Stipulation one. The people of Mars engage to:” in a chapter called The Treaty it is missing about 7% of the book. Reach out to your eBook retailer support.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Manuel Alfonseca in English:
Jacob's Ladder
The Ruby of the Ganges
The Last Dinosaur
Ennia in Faerie
The Heirloom of King Scorpion
Beyond the Black Hole
The Water of Life

The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Series:
Quetzalcoatl's Zahir

The Mystery of the Haunted House
The Mystery of the Sapphire Bracelet
The Mystery of the Honeymoon
The Mystery of the Egyptian Vulture Country House

Chronicles of the Magic Jigsaw Puzzle Series:
The Journey of Tivo the Dauntless
The Mystery of the Black Lake
The Silver Swan
The Secret of the Ice Field
The Lost Continent

The Chronicles of the Aeolian Family Series:

Human Cultures & Evolution
World Population: Past, Present, & Future
The Fifth Level of Evolution

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