Ian Miller has just published his latest ebook – a continuation of the story he started in Red Gold (which I reviewed earlier Link). He plans to end up with a whole slew of ebooks based around this central theme, or at least four ebooks, of which this one is the second. The title ” A Face on Cydonia” refers to the rock formation on Mars that looks remarkably like a human face (see photo), and which is central to one of his main sub-plots, the existence or not of extra-terrestrial life.
Red Gold described – among other things – the founding of the colony on Mars, and this ebook which is placed some time after the events in Red Gold, carries on the story of the ferociously power, money and control hungry corporations who effectively control the world (but not Mars, which is a corporation free area).
Actually, whilst the book is cast in the form of a science fiction book, it is actually something which could well appear in the columns of a publication such as The Economist or the Wall Street Journal, as a very large part of the plot revolves around the machinations that large corporations go through to ensure their share of the market.
So to a large degree, what we have here is a development of the ideas Ian Miller developed in Red Gold. Unlike Red Gold though, the various villains in this ebook are not at all likeable, in fact the main villain, who will certainly play an important role in future ebooks in this series, is totally despicable, a truly loathsome character with not one redeeming quality… Love him!
Ian Miller describes this ebook in the following terms:-
By the year 2100 everybody, apart from some extreme recidivists, knew the so-called Face of Cydonia was simply a battered butte, and a live TV program was to poke fun at those recidivists, except that the battered butte morphed into something like the Viking image and winked. This was considered a great joke, except that nobody knew who was responsible or how it was done. Coupled with two unexplained physical measurements associated with this butte, when signals were found emanating from Epsilon Eridani, a nearby star far too young for such advanced life to have evolved, the issue of alien life arose. As a consequence, Grigori Timoshenko, Federation Commissioner for Defence and Science, is forced to form a party and settle for once and for all whether there had been alien activity around this butte.
The expedition seems doomed, as there are at least three attempts to murder at least one of the party, which comprises: Fiona Bolton, an expert at sonic imaging and a well-known anti-corporate; Nathan Gill, from Theppot and who owns a registered dome near the Face; Jonathon Munro, a corporate who has been responsible for part-funding the expedition, and who wants to bypass the law and take his Corporation to Mars; and Sharon Galloway, a corporate who has developed the most advanced excavating device known. Each of these has a problem with all of the others, each has some expectation of what they will get from the expedition, and each finds exactly what they do not want to find.
This gives you the bare bones of the plot, without giving away too much, and I shan’t give away much either, as that would spoil the story for you when you settle back to read and enjoy this ebook as I did.
As with Red Gold, this ebook is tightly plotted, inhabited by a collection of characters who come to life in a fully rounded fashion as the story progresses and also, as with Red Gold, we are treated to a very sardonic view of the way that large corporations go about their work. Ian Miller seems to be something of an iconoclast, or at the very least is someone who has a very low regard for the morality of business men (and women). There is a quote from near the beginning of the book which I have to share with you… “...It was quite remarkable how many of the leaders of major corporations were psychopaths“.
He develops this idea further in the course of this intriguing book.
Reading it I found myself completely swept up in the events that befall the main actors in this story, the judiciously dosed science, economic theory and sheer excitement kept me wanting to stay with my nose in this ebook – A most satisfactory read in all respects I found. As with Red Gold, he knows how to include serious information in his stories without it becoming a sort of economics, biology or chemistry 101. A good way with information I feel.. just enough to carry the story along and give it a solid foundation, but not enough to become one of those over researched tomes that put informatio0n before the plot line… Not a mistake that Ian Miller makes.
And is there extra-terrestrial life out there? Well you will have to buy this very reasonably priced and highly enjoyable ebook to find out the answer to that question…
Where to get it: Amazon