Title: The Omega Project
Author: Steve Alten
Published by: Tor/Forge
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, Science Fiction
From the publisher—
On the brink of a disaster that could end all human life on earth, tech genius Robert Eisenbraun joins a team of scientists in Antarctica on a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa to mine a rare ore that would provide for Earth’s long-term energy needs. But as he and the rest of the team train under the ice shelf in preparation for the long journey, trouble erupts, and before they embark Eisenbraun is the odd man out, put into cold sleep against his will….
When Robert wakes, he finds the ship deserted and not functional. He escapes to the surface of an Earth terribly changed. The plan has gone horribly wrong, but as he adapts to a hostile environment, he realizes that there is still a way to accomplish what his mission had set out to achieve. But he also discovers that he faces a new adversary of the most unlikely sort. For now, his own survival and that of the woman whose love has sustained him in his darkest hours depend on the defeat of a technological colossus partly of his own making. Confronting a foe that knows him almost as well as he knows himself, he faces the prospect of depending on resources that he has reason to believe will be available on one particular night of a full moon, a night foretold by a mysterious unseen ally to be a pivotal moment for the fate of the earth. The game has changed, and Earth’s future depends on him and him alone.
I’ve been a fan of Steve Alten for a number of years, since I first read MEG, probably in 2005 or so. None of his succeeding books have evoked quite the terror and sheer creepiness that one did but all have had certain qualities that keep me coming back for more and The Omega Project has kept up the tradition.
A few elements of this book bothered me somewhat, especially the lack of worldbuilding regarding the Great Die-off and the quick jump from one story arc to another. In fact, there may be too many ideas so that none seem to be fully explored but I still enjoyed the overall concept. In particular, I’m always won over by man’s insertion into a world so vastly different from ours and Robert’s finding himself on an Earth of the very distant future was quite engaging. However, I have to say the overdone preachiness left me cold and had me skipping pages.
I can’t claim to be a hard-core science fiction reader since I find some of it inaccessible because of an overabundance of scientific fact and/or theory that I don’t want or understand well or because it’s too heavy on the military theme. I like the kind that just offers a cracking good story with well-crafted character and plot development and strong worldbuilding. With some reservations, particularly regarding worldbuilding, moralizing and pacing, The Omega Project misses the mark a bit but is still enjoyable. I’ll be interested in seeing where Mr. Alten turns his attention next.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2013.
About the Author
Steve Alten earned his Bachelors degree at Penn State University, a Masters Degree in Sports Medicine from the University of Delaware, and a Doctorate of Education at Temple University. Struggling to support his family of five, he decided to pen a novel he had been thinking about for years. Working late nights and on weekends, he eventually finished MEG; A Novel of Deep Terror, a thriller about Carcharodon megalodon, the 70-foot prehistoric cousin of the great white shark. MEG went on to become an international best-seller, with movie rights sold. The Mayan Calendar plays a big part in his Domain series — another international best-seller sold in the U.K. as THE MAYAN PROPHECY series. Steve’s other work includes The LOCH — a modern-day thriller about the Loch Ness Monster, The SHELL GAME — about the end of oil and the next 9/11 event, and GRIM REAPER: End of Days — a modern-day Dante’s Inferno which takes place in New York when a man-made plague strikes Manhattan. His best work yet, THE OMEGA PROJECT – was released in August 2013. As an author, Steve has two goals. First, to continue to work hard to become a better storyteller and create exciting page turning thrillers. Second, to remain accessible to his readers. Steve reads and answers all e-mails, uses the names and descriptions of his loyal fans as characters in all his novels, and even hires readers as editors, depending on their particular expertise.
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