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Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Award-winning writer Mary Sisson brings you the tale of Philippe Trang, the first human diplomat assigned to a mysterious alien station. Haunted by a recent mission that went very wrong, Trang realizes that not everyone on Earth would like his mission to succeed—and the aliens have some nefarious agendas of their own.
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To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Award-winning writer Mary Sisson brings you the tale of Philippe Trang, the first human diplomat assigned to a mysterious alien station.
Haunted by a recent mission that went very wrong, Trang realizes that not everyone on Earth would like his mission to succeed—and the aliens have some nefarious agendas of their own. As he tries desperately to keep everyone from killing each other not to mention him , strange forces threaten to destroy his very mind! Read more Read less.
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More like a 4. Although they aren't my chief interest or the primary focus of my SF reading, there are a few science fiction stories about diplomats' interactions with aliens I have read over the decades that come to mind, Keith Laumer's "Reteif" series--which I didn't particularly like because Laumer played it for laughs--and C.
Cherryh's excellent, lengthy "Foreigner" series, which is one of the best works of what has been termed "anthropological" SF that I have ever read. While there are some funny moments in author Mary Sisson's well-written story, she doesn't really play it primarily for laughs, her major characters were well developed, her aliens were well done and believable, and I found the plot very interesting.
However, Sisson does not go into anywhere near as much depth or detail as Cherryh does. I particularly liked the fact that, more than in a lot of other SF stories, Sisson delved a little deeper than usual into the "alienness" of the aliens, and just how difficult it might be to communicate with them, to understand several different alien species' unique frames of reference and their interactions with each other, to find some common understandings, and to comprehend just what it was they were trying to communicate, to figure out what their motives might be in human terms and, overall, to understand just what was really going on.
Sisson delivers an interesting and engaging take on several science fiction tropes: The space station shared among not-always-compatible species of intelligent beings, first contact, interspecies diplomacy, and alien religions' interaction with humans.
I won't try to summarize the plot, but will instead try to distill my opinions on the book's strengths and weaknesses. Interesting characters, both human and non. No cartoons here. Aliens who are really aliens, not humanoids with nose and forehead makeup. A good, solid, plot that actually goes somewhere and does something. Slow start the plot doesn't thicken soon enough. It seems like the story kinda goes off the rails for a little while in the middle.
It might have needed a mean, nasty, cruel editor. The climax has a bit of a deus-ex-machina feel, although it does offer intriguing possibilities for the next book.
Bottom line: I finished this book and was disappointed that the next one in the series wasn't available yet.
Let start out saying I enjoyed this book. I work out days a week which includes 30 minutes on a stationary bike where I read. One of the questions I ask myself is whether I am looking forward to reading the current book or whether I want to slog through or give it up.
The story has some twists and the settings are reasonably interesting.