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SpaceCorp: A Science Fiction Thriller (The…

SpaceCorp: A Science Fiction Thriller (The Galactican Series Book 1)

by Ejner Fulsang

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I'll never forget the summer afternoon in 1987 when I watched the NASA documentary The Dream Is Alive at the IMAX theater at the Museum of Science and Industry Museum in Chicago. An awe-struck 5-year-old, I watched a breathtaking shuttle launch spanning my entire field of vision, powerful speakers pumping the rumble of ignition through my thin chest cavity. A tower of light and smoke ascended into the sky, curving upward as the two rocket boosters disengaged and fell toward earth. The film was breathtaking, awesome, and for me, life changing.

THE DREAM IS ALIVE inspired me in a way nothing ever had before or since. Though I realized by middle school I lacked the prerequisite aptitude for math and science to become an astronaut, my love for space remained and fueled my reading interest as a child and now as an adult. SpaceCorp summoned in me that same love of space that I felt as a child. The novel frequently references THE DREAM, and each and every time, I could not help but remember my own first taste of that same dream in cinematic form.

Set in a dystopian future where the United States is on the verge of fragmentation, political assassinations are commonplace, and the world is beset with apathetic leadership and rogue nation states, SpaceCorp paints an all-too-plausible picture of a bleak future for planet Earth. Only SpaceCorp, a business that functions more as a corporate quasi-state, has a real solution to the problems that plague Earth: moving humans toward becoming a space-faring society.

Filled with specifics and technical details (sometimes to a fault) SpaceCorp provides a roadmap for humanity to reach the stars. Author Ejner Fulsang, aided his incredibly accomplished career as a Captain in the Army, research scientist, and technical writer for NASA, provides a tour de force of scientific accuracy and believability that make SpaceCorp some of the best hard science fiction I've ever read. Dense at times, not always easy to digest for my admittedly non-scientific brain, I found the book fascinating, compelling, and even at times frightening.

My only substantive compliant with the story (and this is common to "big idea" science fiction) is that the characterization and development of the same wasn't as robust as I might have liked. I wanted more human connection, in particular to "Mack" the self-styled genius driver behind SpaceCorp's advancement into nuclear rocket powered space stations. I wanted a closer narrative lens. That said, writers (I write fiction myself) are notoriously critical of other writer's work.

As a work of hard science fiction, SpaceCorp is unique in its emphasis on the PROCESS of how we might someday reach for the stars. Most hard science fiction stories set in space assume that as a fait accompli. Kudos to Fulsang for telling this less-common story and making it both believable and aspirational.

This exchange in the first third of the book summarizes the ethos of the novel:

"But there's not money to be made in the stars!" Jason said.

"Give the man a prize! You don't go to the stars to make money. You go to the stars for the %#*@ of it! Because you can. Because they're there!"

Amen to that.

Those who demand accurate, cutting edge science will LOVE SpaceCorp. I look forward to the rest of the series and any other work by Mr. Fulsang. ( )
  nmbeauchamp | May 26, 2015 |
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