Publisher: Blue Bedlam Science Fiction (June 18, 2014)
Category: Science Fiction: Space Opera, First Contact, Action-Adventure, Alien, Romance
Tour Date: March 2-April 30, 2015
Available in: Print & ebook, 373 Pages
NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960s. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it.
The ship itself remained silent, drifting.
Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it’s an adventure she can’t refuse.
The ship isn’t vacant, as they presumed.
A disembodied voice rumbles inside Jane’s head, “You are home.”
Jane fights the growing doubts of her colleagues as she attempts to decipher what the alien wants from her. As the derelict ship devolves into chaos and the crew gets cut off from their escape route, Jane must decide if she can trust the alien’s help to survive.
NASA has been monitoring a seemingly abandoned alien ship, the Target, in a nearby asteroid belt since the 1960's. Unknown to the public, watching the ship has been the reason for many advances in space technology. Now, with an asteroid in the path of the Target, NASA wants to get its hands on any technology aboard the ship before it's destroyed. In assembling a team to go to the ship, they are missing one component, a linguist to decipher any writing on the ship and communicate if anything is alive on board. Dr. Jane Holloway has a knack for languages and a passion for adventure. When the team finally reaches the Target after a grueling journey, Jane finds out that the ship is not quite abandoned, the being on board has found a way to communicate with her and it wants her to something for the ship.
A suspenseful space adventure with a scientific base and atypical aliens. What captured me most in Fluency was Jane's character. I knew she was intelligent, but she also is brave, loyal and can act under pressure. As the ship reveals itself to Jane, her personality reveals itself and she is forced to act with information that is only known to her. This splits the team, some crew members believe she is crazy, others believe that her increased knowledge must come from something aboard the ship. This divide creates an interesting tension. There wasn't a ton of action in the book, but there were some fighting scenes with dangerous space slugs, most of the action is taking place within Jane's mind as she learns how to communicate with the entity aboard. My biggest dislike was the sort-of, jumbled romance between Jane and crewman Alan Bergen. There was a lot of tension, weirdness and not really great circumstances for an actual romance when Jane was seemingly passed out half the time when she was communicating with the alien. The ending was interesting to me with a little unexpected twist.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Jennifer Foehner Wells lives an alternately chaotic and fairly bucolic existence in Indiana with two boisterous little boys, a supportive husband, a mildly unhinged Labrador retriever, and three adorable pet rats as housemates.
Having studied biology, Jen’s possessed with a keen interest in science and technology. She’s 100% geek and proud of it.
FLUENCY was Jen’s debut. It spent weeks in the Kindle Top 100, going as high as number 4. It remains prominent in several Science Fiction categories. It has garnered 848 five star reviews, to date.
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Jane moved back into the hall and turned to examine the symbols outside the door again. She pressed the top one, to see if a second touch would close the door. Nothing happened. She pressed the bottom symbol. The door shut with a whisper and barely perceptible thud.
She left her fingers resting next to the symbols for a moment, mentally making a connection between the images and the concepts of “open” and “close” as well as probing within for hidden links to other languages, a practiced mental exercise.
Abruptly, she could see meaning within the pattern. Comprehension breathed life within her mind--open and close, unlocked from somewhere inside.
She stumbled back. Her boot caught. She fell on her rump at Gibbs’s feet.
Gibbs lifted her by the arm. She swayed in his grasp, gaping at the symbols that now meant far more.
She could see into them, like a hologram.
Her breath caught in her throat.
Her eyes drifted down. A new experience.
Close… barrier, block… tightly cover, conceal, seal and lock… stifle… dark… inaccessible… halting… murderous, fence, trap, end… End?
She shuddered and tore her eyes away.
“Jane, what is it?” Bergen’s helmet skittered over hers, pressing her back into Gibbs.
She closed her eyes. Her whole body trembled. Couldn’t they see it too?
The hum was back and it was stronger. There was an unmistakable sensation of vibration and movement. Were there actual bees inside her head?
Her own thoughts were mired while something else—something that was not her—zipped with glee, probing, searching… Her brain pulsed in response.
Her limbs were heavy. She wanted to lie down.
She felt drunk.
She recalled the first time she’d ever been tipsy with sudden clarity. The bees latched onto that, pushed her toward the memory.
Control spun away. She went along as an observer.
She was nine. They were living in Belize. No tourists had come in rumbling, rusty, buses that day to hike the trails. It was a rare free day.
Jane batted away a slow-flying insect and looked up from the tattered, yellowed paperback that a tall German woman had carelessly left behind the day before. It was a book by a guy named Sagan, about a girl who was smart and curious, just like her.
She was bored. The daily rain shower would begin soon and she’d be cooped up in the casita for the rest of the afternoon, reading or playing chess.
Where had her parents gone? They were probably giggling under some tree somewhere. She sighed heavily. She didn’t like it when they left her alone, but they’d come if she yelled and then she’d get a lecture about crying wolf.
She sat down on the dusty, worn boards in the doorway, fingering the wide cracks, smoothed over by time. She thought she heard a quiet “kyow,” the tell-tale sound of a quetzal in the neighborhood, and picked up her binoculars, scanning the canopy for signs of the bird—its red breast and long, flicking green tail—then the undergrowth for signs of her wayward parents. She saw movement, but that was the cow.
They said they were trying to make her a baby brother or sister to keep her company, but they’d been saying that for a long time and it hadn’t happened yet. She didn’t see what the big deal was. Why did they need to be alone to do that? It’s not like she hadn’t watched them before when they thought she was sleeping. She’d teased them that they sounded like monkeys.
She eyed the bottle of clear guaro they kept up on the high shelf. Grown-up drinks, grown-up sex, grown-up stuff was just silly stuff they didn’t want to share. She pulled a chair over to the single wall-mounted cabinet and captured the nearly full bottle. She’d show them. She sloshed it into her small, plastic cup and gave it a taste.
Ugh. Terrible stuff. But it was warm going down and that was nice. Interesting sensation, actually. She coughed a little and took a more cautious sip and then another. It was a little sweet. It was sharp. Not so different from spicy food and she liked that fine.
She decided she was mature enough to get it down and turned on the radio. Mom liked to dance to mariachi music when she drank this stuff. By the time her parents got back, arms around each other, smiling, she was smiling too and humming along.
Humming. Droning. Vibrating.
It wants something.