Randy Noble brings science fiction novelty into an epic mystery of evil alien encounters in his book, “Surviving The Theseus.”
SOAD, an acronym for Search Out and Destroy, trains and equips officers licensed to kill as they police the distant future corridors of space, keeping law and order among travelers in various space vessels. Regina Valensky, a SOAD officer, is taking a vacation aboard a luxury space cruise ship called Pyramid One when she gets duped, drugged and drawn into a mystery of death beyond ordinary comprehension. She investigates a perplexing occurrence where the entire crew of a spaceship in route to an inhabitable moon sized planet simply disappeared, leaving only their clothing behind on the ship’s decks — as if they stripped and vanished. What has caused such odd forensic evidence? How can this have happened to the entire crew, gone without a trace? With her own crew of a dozen skilled pilots and professionals, Regina embarked on a SOAD ship designed with an invisible cloaking shield to unravel the facts of the strange occurrence, or likely die trying.
Granted any sci-fi enthusiast by now is familiar with scores of storyline scenarios involving space travel among distant moons and planets. However, just when you think you’ve seen everything technology can manifest, Randy Noble comes up with some clever “inventions.” So clever that perhaps he should seek a patent for some of them!
For example, two technologies Gene Roddenberry brought to all of us, which were great for plot elements but contrary to Albert Einstein’s theories are warp drive and teleporting (beaming). Randy Noble skillfully steers clear on going beyond ordinary physics by having his spacecraft travel fast but not faster than light. In this novel, the ships also need to stay within corridors of a matrix, or lanes in space designated by cleverly designed markers, “floating matchstick” type of devices. Only SOAD ships can take “shortcuts” through the grid of interplanetary travel. Other spacecraft attempting to go beyond the designated areas allowed for travel by the markers result in their engines becoming instantly inoperative, their vessels stranded, and forced to wait for law enforcement to come by to pick them up for prosecution.
Another technology I found fascinating was the “Magnetic tube” used to transport people from a ship in space to a planet’s surface. Described by Randy Noble as a beam of energy, a tube is approximately like an elongated hula-hoop, extending from the ship to a precise distance of about 4 feet above the surface of the ground below. The magnetic tube extends from the ship with two cascading energy fields – the outer one moving in an opposite direction to the inner one. A person would enter the tube and like an elevator be carried to a portal to the end for exiting at a safe point onto the surface of the planet, or moon below. The two fields of energy would then reverse to provide a lift back to the ship. Although a bit challenging of a ride, it made for some compelling theoretical physics thinking, in my amateur scientific reasoning, about the possibilities of novel ways humans may solve problems which as yet do not exist.
Technology aside, “Surviving The Theseus” develops suspense while Regina’s colleagues are picked off, one by one, by an alien force that only can be seen at times as an orange glow of light, not taking a form necessary to target and destroy. An alien killer without hesitation, the force is overwhelming all which come within its proximity; without even a chance of defending one’s self. As the crew battles this epically evil enemy, the character development becomes such that you get to know them as down-to-earth-space-travelers. Each of them are written with many classical literary techniques, making this an engaging page-turner set in a futuristic fantasy world of credible scientific gadgetry; a truly classic sci-fi.
Although laced with some “R” rated words, the book would still be recommend for young adult reading, but not for children. As sci-fi fans of all ages can’t get enough of new technology, Randy Noble certainly brings some original devices to mind, making reading this a must for those seeking a trip off earth and an engaging battle in the vacuum of space. An action packed encounter with what is defined in Greek mythology as a slayer; “Surviving The Theseus” will linger in your thoughts.