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An intense and exciting story about a catastrophic accident aboard a long-haul spacecraft bearing supplies to a distant human colony.

Transcendent by author Jay Antani is an exciting and suspense-laden new science fiction novella about an accident occurring in deep space when a long-haul spacecraft bearing supplies to a distant human colony experiences a rupture. It is told from the viewpoint of the ship’s medical officer, who was in the right place at the right time to survive the initial catastrophic event that killed the four other crew members who were awake and outside of their sleep pods at the time.

Troy Hartman is an extremely engaging and sympathetic character faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. He’s a medical doctor with just enough emergency training under his belt, received immediately before launch, to serve in the secondary capacity of engineer’s assistant. In other words, repairing the Transcendent is not exactly in his wheelhouse. However, he does all he can to save himself and the remaining crew in hibernation, including their one passenger, the seven-year-old daughter of the ship’s lost commander. We learn a lot about Troy’s backstory as he works to save what’s left of the Transcendent and its passengers, and I really enjoyed these looks into his past, especially his brief interlude with the woman, Mallika, and her son. These moments of reflection are a nice pause to take a breath between the intense action sequences.

The story’s action goes full throttle from the moment the accident occurs and is somewhat reminiscent of Andy Weir’s The Martian. Troy must take steps to use his dwindling resources efficiently and effect a solution efficiently, only he’s much more out of his element, has fewer resources, knowledge, and skills, and has a far smaller window of opportunity in which to work. He uses the onboard AI, OTTO, to evaluate possible scenarios, but for every hopeful step forward, there is another heartbreaking stumble back. The story takes an awesome left turn toward its final resolution, and there are enough unknowns left hanging that the author could develop more stories using this one as a jumping-off point. The author’s storytelling is so good I would readily grab up this additional work.

I recommend TRANSCENDANT to science fiction readers who enjoy tales of long space voyages gone wrong, problem-solving action, with plenty of tech talk to make it all feel real.

Reviewed by

I love to read and hook up others with books that they might enjoy. I like genre fiction with a weakness for cozies, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and westerns. My professional background is in law enforcement, fire, water, and environmental education. I have basset hounds and ham radio is a hobby.

TROY / 2286

About the author

Jay Antani is a lifelong disciple of stories. His books include "The Leaving of Things," "Edge of Light," and "Transcendent." Connect with Jay at jayantani.com and subscribe to his Substack, The Personal and the Fantastic (link: https://thepersonalandthefantastic.substack.com/). view profile

Published on June 06, 2023

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30000 words

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Genre: Science Fiction

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