“We’ve found something here, something game-changing…” The explosion at the International Space Station (ISS) forever changed the direction of inventor Tamarind Chase’s life. His life mission was to mine asteroids, but when the accident triggers an expanding debris field it strands the scientists at Moonbase Verity including the friend that once saved his life. He must find a way to rescue them and empower the secret they have discovered.
“Impact” is the first book in The Pan Nationals series about a group of leaders trained to solve intractable world problems. But what happens when the problems come from beyond our world?
Impact is engaging, well-written, and offers a compelling story set in the near future.
The main character is Tamarind Chase, one of several protégés introduced in the book from a group called the Pan-Nationals. The book is a little elusive on their story, giving snippets of Tamarind and his friends’ backstories throughout, but from what I can tell there is some Pacific Island based group which takes in young orphans and then builds them into brilliant driven individuals. They subsequently spread across the earth becoming leaders in their chosen fields. Tamarind is a brilliant engineer and after the debris field cripples Earth’s space program for years, he forms his own company to solve the problem.
The book vibes of Gravity meets The Martian meets Deep Impact meets Contact. While there are elements from each of those, at no time does it feel like a derivative work. There are no easy solutions in the book and the efforts put forth by the characters take years to reach fruition. For me the book started okay and it was about forty percent into it where the story really started to engage me. It is billed as the first book in a series, and it does leave enough compelling story left at the end to make me anticipate the next in the series. There is a lot of technical language, and there is of-course an element of science fiction from the technology, to the circumstances, and the solutions. I didn’t find it to be any less-accessible than in other novels of the same style.
My one criticism of the book is the Pan-National group. It seems that after they appropriate these children at young ages and basically have them forget their original circumstances, they are raised in the image of what this group thinks they should be (brilliant, driven, pacifist). They aren’t even sure of their ethnicity. None of these kids/adults seem to have any adjustment or abandonment issues that a lot of adoptees feel, particularly transracial adoptees. Later it is revealed that the Pan-National group does know their origins and stories, but chooses to keep it from them until they think the adoptees are ready. It seems unlikely they are all so well adjusted and accepting of the upbringing that was thrust upon them.