The Explorer by James Smythe
Cormac Easton is the lone survivor aboard The Ishiguro, the first ever manned mission into deep space. The expedition was meant to send the crew further into the darkness than any person has ever experienced before. Its mission was to get the world interested in space travel again after a number of famously failed excursions and therefore encourage government funding and sponsorship. The entire team was hand-picked for their abilities, looks and personality but with no medic, no engineers and no help at all, Cormac is left alone in the depths of space. As the reporter aboard the mission, all he can do is continue to log the details of the journey and review old footage. With the bodies of the dead crew surrounding him, he waits for the fuel gauge to tick down to 50%, when the ship will automatically turn itself around and return to Earth, praying that someone will be able to talk him through the re-entry procedure. But when the fuel hits the halfway mark the ship fails to turn back and he’s faced with a slow, lonely death…but was he ever really alone?
I am doing the best I can to write this review without including any spoilers as these excellent twists and turns are what make this novel so unique and absorbing. Cormac’s overwhelming loneliness and claustrophobia are captured perfectly and are even more evocative after viewed through two different viewpoints. For anyone that’s wondering if this is a classic alien encounter novel I can say it definitely isn’t, the plot is far more intelligent and complicated than that, drawing the reader in with Cormac’s doom right at the beginning, leaving you wondering where the story can still go with three quarters of the book left. Understated and beautifully haunting this an absolute 100% must read, not just for science fiction fans but for readers in general. I will definitely be keeping on eye out for all future ventures by James Smythe after reading this fabulous novel!
Buy The Explorer by James Smythe