The story is good, although not quite as good as Rising Stars. But then that was unbelievably good, so I could hardly expect it to be as good.
An alien child lands on Earth and is kept in isolation by the government and raised by two agents who volunteer for the decades long project of seeing him to adulthood and acting as his adopted parents. There are also others who appear: a boy who can run incredibly quickly, a boy who sees his parents killed, a soldier who attempts to work with an element of the alien boy’s ship.
I really like J. Michael Straczynski’s stories. He’s a good storyteller, and sucks me into the tales he tells.
Contact starts somewhat slowly as he develops the story and gives the history of the characters. The book primarily focuses on Mark Milton and project Hyperion: how he was found, how he was raised, and how various politicians handled the situation. But throughout the development of the story there are multiple moral questions and issues that appear and are resolved, but you’re pretty sure that those resolutions will come back later to cause problems.
Interestingly, I could have stood to read less about Mark Milton and more about the other characters. Not that the Mark Milton story was boring, I just wanted to know a bit more about the other characters. There were also storylines that were hinted out, but then the story moved on.
It’s an good story, and like other stories I love, the moral ambiguities and issues were the most fascinating part. I am not sucked in the same way I was to Rising Stars, but it’s still a good story, and I am curious to find out what happens. Michael also read and enjoyed Contact and also wants the next book, so he can find out what happened.
In Powers and Principalities we continue the story of Mark Milton, as well as Nighthawk, Stanley Stewart, and Joe Ledger, and are introduced to Princess Zarda and the amphibian woman. (Or, as Michael and I were referring to them: the terrestrial naked lady and the aquatic naked lady.)
(And just why is it that the primary female characters are naked? None of the male characters are naked, except for the bit where Mark Milton gets all his clothes blown off. And of course the naked lady brings him a covering, while herself remaining naked. That annoys me.)
Mark continues to question who he is and what he is doing, Joe Ledger continues to obey his military masters, and Nighthawk and Stanley? Well, they start looking into crime.
In this book, nothing is resolved and further questions are raised, leaving me with the question of whether I want to continue this series.
Which leads me to the question of whether I really care about these characters, and I think the answer is, not really.
I feel sorry for Mark Milton but not that sorry, and with the exception of Stanley Stewart, no one else is really very likable. I’m curious as to how things resolve, but I don’t particularly care about the characters–if they were all killed in the next book it wouldn’t really bother me too much.
We’ll probably pick up the next book when it comes out, because Michael really wants to know what happens, but if he doesn’t mention it, I’m not going to go out of my way to look for it.