DiscoverScience Fiction

Explorer's End


Loved it! 😍

A well-thought-out sci-fi survival and exploration story with a great imagination!

In this sci-fi adventure, an anthropologist travels to a doomed planet to track down the remnants of an ancient civilization said to be the origin of life in the galaxy. Faced with the elements, old rivals, and the impending collision of the entire planet, it's a race to find what he's looking for before it's too late.

This book was richly imaginative and one of its greatest strengths was the immersive, detailed settings. At its core, it was a treasure hunt story, which is fun in and of itself. But it also had a distinct "lost in the jungle" survival story aspect that was equally as compelling. It was familiar, but also alien. I loved the jungle planet of Helios even if you couldn't pay me to go there!

This is a very fast read that played out like a well-paced action-adventure movie. (Sidenote: if this ever got brought to the big screen, I would definitely watch it.) Everything fit together, all the Chekov's guns went off, and the ending was both satisfying and a bit open-ended. (Sequel, Author?) I thought it was very well-thought-out with just enough worldbuilding to keep things cohesive!

The characters were also fun, though I would've loved to see more development, especially for our protagonist, Alan. The one thing I couldn't help but notice is that the book lacked physical descriptions. I had no idea what most of the characters looked like, so I had to fill in the gaps with my imagination. (Mup looked like Tom Holland in my head and there's no convincing me otherwise.) But the dialogue was quippy and natural, and there were some great character beats sprinkled in, particularly between our protagonist and his rival.

Aside from that, my criticisms are purely technical: there were a lot of places where pronouns could've substituted proper nouns and where the passive voice could've been eliminated to make the writing stronger. Other than that, it was very competently written with few typos.

At the risk of sounding derivative, this book is like if Indiana Jones were sci-fi mixed with Prometheus if it actually made a lick of sense. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good sci-fi adventure or survival story!

Reviewed by

Freelance writer and content developer by day, blogger and aspiring author by night. However, my only professional goal has always been to make a living doing what I love most: reading and writing! At my core, I'm just a goof who loves a good story.


About the author

H.W. Portland has spent 20 years in technology working in the areas of healthcare, space exploration, and construction. He has traveled extensively around the world: he drank with strangers in North Korea, camped at a dump in Uzbekistan, and got lost in the Atlas mountains of Morocco. view profile

Published on July 14, 2022

50000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by