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Approaching Omega
Eric Brown
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Approaching Omega
Eric Brown
Eric Brown was born in 1960 and grew up in Australia. He now lives in Haworth, England. His novels include The Virex Trilogy (Penumbra, Meridian Days, Engineman, Untouchable and Walkabout -- the latter two for young adults), and the collections The Time-Lapsed Man and Blue Shifting. He is a regular and popular contributor to Interzone magazine.

Eric Brown's Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Xenopath
SF Site Review: Necropath
SF Site Review: Threshold Shift
SF Site Review: Approaching Omega
SF Site Review: New York Dreams
SF Site Review: Bengal Station
SF Site Review: New York Nights
SF Site Review: New York Blues
SF Site Review: Parellax View
SF Site Review: Bengal Station

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

The idea of humans colonizing other worlds is nothing new. Mix in a ship that doesn't have faster than light capabilities and you end up with a bunch of frozen colonists, making their way out of our solar system, knowing that not only might they not find a new world to inhabit, but the Earth they've left will be unrecognizable through evolution.

This is the premise of Eric Brown's Approaching Omega. An Omega Corporation colonization ship named the Dauntless has left our solar system in search of a new home. On board are five hangers containing one thousand cold-storage passengers each, four tech service crew members that are to be woken every few thousand years for maintenance, and a brilliant Central AI computer that, through the course of the ship's centuries long journey, is supposed to locate a suitable planet for human colonization. Shouldn't be any problems, right?

Of course there are. The maintenance crew, led by Ted Latimer, our hero of the tale, finds themselves awakened 500 years too early. It seems a collision of some sort (or a design flaw in the drive itself) has damaged half the ship, and lost several of the colonist hangers. The crew struggles to fix as much of the problem as they can with limited resources, then makes the decision to leave things in the hands of the Central AI, and continue their journey.

The next time they're awakened, another good thousand years down the line, things are even worse. Having been more damaged than they thought in the initial disaster, it seems the Dauntless' Central AI has used the material available to insure the survival of the colonists. This material being the colonists themselves. This is where the book comes alive; with the images Brown creates of giant cold hangers in space, filled with the leftover meat of human experiments. It's quite horrifying.

All the service drones on the ship seem to be hunting the crew and most of the colonists are now twisted, cyborg hybrids that speak with the Central AI's voice. It then becomes a question not only of protecting what few colonists left in suspended animation, but whether Latimer and his crew can survive themselves. And to what purpose would their survival achieve? After all, the Earth they knew is thousands of years dead, and there is no rescue coming from anywhere. Is it even worth it to salvage what's left of the mission?

Approaching Omega reflects imagery of Alien, Event Horizon and a little bit of Hellraiser. The story is not particularly original, but the visuals of the characters, trapped in the void of space, being hunted by merciless machines evokes raw emotion that will stick with the reader. Couple this with an intriguing surprise twist at the end and you end up with a good story and overall fun read.

Copyright © 2012 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been Star Trek characters, the Riddler in a Batman stunt show and holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University. He has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories while acting on stage, screen and television. He can sometimes be seen giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood and playing Norman Bates.

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