The UEA spaceship Centaurus is on a mission to the Alpha Centauri system to investigate a moon there because Earth has received an extraterrestrial signal from this location, and now a special team has arrived to find the origin of the signal. But as the crew comes out of sleep stasis, something has gone horribly wrong. The captain of the ship is dead, and the second in command is also dead. Rank and leadership falls to the flight engineer from Mars, Rachel Terman. Not quite realizing the position she has been thrust into, she makes some quick decisions and gets all the surviving modules launched to the lunar surface.
On the moon, it is a different story. Many of the crew are dead, but there are a number who survive. Rachel gets survivors together, going for a safety in numbers plan, and commanding everyone to continue searching for survivors. But the science team, run by a very assertive man, has other ideas. The primary goal of the mission, he proclaims, was to find the origin of the signal, and that is what the science team is going to do. This causes an immediate schism in the crew, and tensions begin rising. Meanwhile, strange things are happening on the planet. Sounds, mirages. People have also started to go missing. And it seems like one of the crew may not be the ally they thought she was.
At the heart of Signal is an intriguing science fiction premise, but weighted against it are some unavoidable errors with the story. The dynamic of Rachel being a Martian and not liked by those from Earth is a good conflict to have in the story, but the sheer abuse she has gone through in her life makes her likelihood of being on this mission seem very slim. Her abilities as a leader, being the third in line of command, are also very questionable, again affecting her choice as a member of the crew. As for the rest of the crew, things descend into anarchy a little too fast for a group of people who have logically been chosen for their abilities to do their jobs and thrive under stressful conditions. Each person seems to be looking out for themselves, and there is a severe lack of crew empathy.
The story itself feels forced and pushed along, as if the author wasn’t letting it flow naturally but was making things happen to be more dramatic, forcing the characters to do things that seem unlikely or at least out of character. As for the dramatization of the story as an audiobook, it feels half done or half complete. There are some sound effects, but not throughout. There are some characters who are voiced by different actors, but then the main actor voices four or five different people with heavy-handed accents. It creates a confusing atmosphere in which to follow the story.
Ultimately, this was a story that had a lot of promise, but due to the heavy-handedness of the author on plot and character, as well as the reduced dramatized aspect of the audiobook, it falls far short of being good.
|Page Count||9 hrs and 29 mins|
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|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|
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