Review of FIRST CONTACT by Kenneth E. Ingle (see his website)
ESCAPE TO 55 CANCRI
BooksForABuck.com, April 2009
A lab explosion results in a group of scientists who now age very slowly. Long life doesn't seem like a problem, but Maria Presk knows their secret can't be kept forever. When it gets out, every government in the world will be interested and she, along with her associates, will be lucky if they're ever allowed out of a government lab again--or if they're allowed to live. There's no place on Earth where Maria and the others can be safe, so she comes up with an ambitious plan--they'll build a spaceship and travel to the stars. Fortunately, their long lives mean that they'll be able to survive the decades of travel at sublight speeds.
As a lead scientist and entrepreneur in DNA research, Maria has the money needed to launch a space flight program. But hostile spies and men anxious to learn her secret dog the work of the growing band of scientists, engineers and computer programmers who hope to escape to the stars. Even some of her own chosen technicians have other plans--or have thrown in with those who can't create an Earth worth living on, but seem intent on making sure nobody can escape it, either.
Escaping to the stars sounds good in concept. What Maria isn't prepared for, though, is that other civilizations already lay claim to the planets and space resources in 55 Cancri--and indeed, everywhere in space. Maria's ship was designed for escape, not for conflict. Yet she and the others face dangers in space at least as great as those they fled from on Earth.
Author Kenneth E. Ingle (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Ingle) offers a convincing view of sub-light speed space travel, the kinds of people who will be needed to make this possible, and the political and personal problems they will encounter as they prepare for a voyage to the unknown. The group's encounters with alien civilizations is pure space opera excitement. Best of all, Ingle manages to combine these two aspects into an integrated whole.
FIRST CONTACT is no longer in print.