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Approaching Omega
Eric Brown
Telos Publishing, 128 pages

Eric Brown
Eric Brown (1960- ) grew up in Australia and now lives in Haworth, England. He has written over twenty books and eight short stories in the SF genre. He has twice won the BSFA short story award, in 2000 and 2002. His first collection was The Time-Lapsed Man (1990), and he has recently sold his sixth, Threshold Shift, due out from Golden Gryphon in the United States. His first novel was Meridian Days (1992). The third book of the Virex trilogy, New York Dreams, appeared in 2004, as did his novel Bengal Station. Forthcoming books include The Fall of Tartarus and The Extraordinary Voyage of Jules Verne.

Eric Brown's Website
ISFDB Bibliography
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

Approaching Omega: 1, 2,

A review by Georges T. Dodds

Approaching Omega In Approaching Omega Eric Brown has written an action packed novella of humans vs. cyborgs. Four humans are the maintenance crew on an outbound human ark escaping an Earth rapidly succumbing to anthropogenic destruction of the environment and of other humans. Despite warnings all seems good-to-go, but upon their first awakening from suspended animation, they find the ship heavily damaged, its central AI systems offline, some of the colonist-bearing pods destroyed, others hanging by a thread. Not having the capacity to repair the massive damage, but having jury-rigged the livable-planet detector, they retire to their sleep pods. When they wake again, they discover that a number of maintenance robots have gained a mind of their own, and creatures resembling but not entirely human are prowling about the remaining pods -- and want to be "friends."

Approaching Omega being a fast, frantically-paced, action-packed and entertaining read -- I read it over lunch -- allows one to gloss over the string of clichés: the space arc as humanity's last hope, the big corporation that built it hiding its technical flaws, the standard suspended animation sleep pods, the Borg-like hybrids offering the humans a better life through technology, the endless crawling through access ducts, the laser gun battles. E.E. "Doc" Smith and Edmond Hamilton would be proud. There are a couple of instances where one wonders why the characters suddenly shift their focus, turning away from completing what they see as the absolutely critical, mission- and life-saving task of destroying the central AI, imminently at risk of falling into the hands (or data cables) of their enemies, to run off and attempt to save one of their captured colleagues. Then, when they do manage to cleverly annihilate the enemies which have butchered and recycled their fellow humans, and only one survives, they let it live. This being said, these weren't really things that crossed my mind while reading Approaching Omega, and in terms of pure entertainment value it certainly pays off.

So if you enjoy the Star Trek: The Next Generation Borg episodes and the Alien series of films, you'll probably enjoy and be well entertained by Approaching Omega, just don't expect very much substance below the surface.

Copyright © 2005 Georges T. Dodds

Georges Dodds is a research scientist in vegetable crop physiology, who for close to 25 years has read and collected close to 2000 titles of predominantly pre-1950 science-fiction and fantasy, both in English and French. He writes columns on early imaginative literature for WARP, the newsletter/fanzine of the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association and maintains a site reflecting his tastes in imaginative literature.

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