The Gamma Recruits

We rated this book:


An action-packed, time-traveling adventure story with a strong ecological message, James Pelkmans’ The Gamma Recruits exposes the hypocrisy of greenwashing and highlights the danger of unchecked power and unlimited resources concentrated in the hands of the few. What’s more, it does so while delivering an exciting, explosive science fiction story packed with twists, turns, and deadly danger.

Jayson Reilly, a graduate student studying sustainable agriculture, has been recruited by tech entrepreneur Anton Kamaras to participate in a top-secret project at the Center for Sustainability Research on O’ahu, part of the Hawaiian island chain. Kamaras has pledged to pump billions of his own money into the project, with the aim being to gather together the world’s best minds and fund their climate-related research.

While Jayson is skeptical that Kamaras really believes the project can do much to combat what humanity has done to the planet, he also acknowledges his own hypocrisy in agreeing to take a private jet halfway around the world to help tackle climate change and sustainability issues. Still, the opportunity is too good to pass up, even if the project ultimately only achieves limited results.

Unfortunately, things prove to be far worse than Jayson initially imagined. Rather than seeking to improve conditions on Earth, Kamaras has actually gathered scientists and researchers such as Jayson to help him invade and conquer a parallel planet that is around a thousand years less advanced than their own. It sounds even more far-fetched than his supposed philanthropy, but a quantum computing breakthrough means that Kamaras actually has a portal to this new world.

When the reality of what they’ve been drawn into becomes clear, it’s up to Jayson and other like-minded individuals from among the project team to thwart Kamaras’ nefarious ambitions and save both worlds.

The Gamma Recruits is a timely tale of the damage that humanity has done to the planet and of how even worse things could be in store if current trajectories are not halted. While the technology used to travel to the alternative Earth is clearly something from the realm of science fiction, the underlying theory and proposed mechanism are scarily plausible based on current understandings. In fact, the whole thing, from Kamaras’ discovery to his attempts at exploitation, feels like it could feasible in the near future.

This plausibility is heightened by Pelkmans’ canny integration of fact and fiction, weaving together what is currently possible with what might become possible in the future. This approach works well and the provision of information never detracts from the pace or excitement of the overall story. Really, the only pacing issue is the slightly slow start, during which Jayson and Samaria are interviewed for the project. Things pick up considerably once their actual work begins.

Kamaras makes for a great villain, by turns megalomaniacal and charming, and it’s tempting to liken him to some of the billionaires currently kicking around in the public discourse. While the nature of his presence means that he doesn’t have much of a character arc, he serves as an effective malign influence throughout the story. By contrast, Jayson has a very rapid character arc, shifting from social media-observed student seeking to take advantage of a free trip to Hawaii, to trusted expert in sustainable agriculture, to hero seeking to save two worlds from exploitation.

Despite featuring plenty of futuristic concepts and scenarios, to say nothing of the impressive plot twists and action sequences, The Gamma Recruits offers an alarmingly plausible exploration of the consequences of climate change, technological advancements, and unparalleled hubris. As such, it both warns and entertains when it comes to a possible future for the Earth, making for a thrill-packed and surprising story, which will be continued in The Gamma Effect.

Reviewed By:

Author James Pelkmans
Star Count 4/5
Format eBook
Page Count 432 pages
Publisher Gamma Publishing
Publish Date 23-Mar-2022
ISBN 9798985814415 Buy this Book
Issue May 2024
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy