Science Fiction

Zone of the Tenth Degree

Written by: Brad Aiken

Published By: Padwolf Publishing

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Iím a big fan of the author Brad Aiken.  His science fiction novels are great adventures filled with action and suspense and his writing style is such that one believes the adventures they are reading have the potential to take place in the distant future.  I was first introduced to his work when a representative of Padwolf Publishing handed me The Starscape Project.  I loved the characters and the writing and begged to read more adventures featuring Stryker, T.C. and Jennifer.  I was rewarded with Starscape: The Silver Bullet, but I wanted more.  Happily, Brad Aiken has provided his fans with another Starscape adventure - Zone of the Tenth Degree.

            This time around, T.C. McGee is getting in some downtime, diving with a girlfriend off the Florida Keys, when they make an incredible discovery - a creature unlike nothing T.C. has ever seen before.  T.C. decides to report his find to his friend Blake Richards, a marine biologist who is passing as a human, but is actually an android.  Richards has an idea about the dead aquatic creature, but it is unconfirmed until its mother ship arrives. 

            Thatís right, I said mother ship.  Apparently, this creature has been living in a colony in the Atlantic Ocean since 1912, just around the time that the Titanic sank.  The aliens want to reclaim their people, but there is just one problem - a former naval officer whose family disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle twenty-five years ago.  Apparently, this man has been searching for his sister all this time, believing that aliens might have had something to do with her disappearance.  His attack on the Bermuda Triangle colony causes the mother ship to threaten the destruction of Earth.

            But, of course, Danny Stryker, his wife Jennifer and Blake have devised a plan and it involves time travel.  Traveling back to the moment when the Titanic was sunk, Stryker and his team must take equipment to the aliens that will aide in repairing their vessel and allow them to leave Earth.  But nothing about this mission goes exactly as planned.  The crew of the Stargazer will have to think fast to avoid certain disaster for Earth while avoiding making changes that can affect the time continuum.

            Trust Brad Aiken to explain the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle and link them to the sinking of the Titanic.  The explanation of the events leading to the Titanicís collision with an iceberg and the disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle actually seem plausible if we assume that there are alien life forms out there.  And why shouldnít we - after all, how could we be so arrogant to assume that we are the only intelligent life forms out there?  I also love how Aiken managed to insert some medical technology in there by fitting T.C. with an android eye when his is severely damaged.  Definitely something I can see being a part of every day medicine in the distant future.

            The letters of Bermuda Triangle victim Samantha Callahan were a nice added touch.  I became more and more invested in discovering this characterís fate after each letter.  I found myself looking forward to each one and looking for clues that would give me some understanding as to who these aliens were and why they were making planes and boats disappear in that locale over the years.  What did they want?  Were they just scientists trying to find out more about our world by capturing some of its inhabitants and studying them?

            I love the relationships between the characters in this novel and the banter between them which reminded me of the way I talk to my co-workers and friends - teasing, bickering, playing practical jokes (never was expecting that from Blake, but I guess he is seriously assimilating).  The way the interaction between the characters is written makes them seem more real.

            In my opinion, Zone of the Tenth Degree is the best Starscape novel of the bunch.  Thereís action, adventure, time travel, aliens and incredible new medical technology.  What more could a sci-fi geek ask for?  I know - more Starscape stories, please!


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