The Fossil by Joshua T Calvert
Great grounded scifi books are hard to find. Scifi seems to be set in parallel worlds, cyberpunk cities or on a planet very far away. And those tales seem to be more fantastical than science based. So I struggle often to find a science fiction with actual science in. Then one day I came across a book on sale called The Fossil. And after reading the synopsis, I thought it might be some grounded scifi I might like. So here is my review of The Fossil by Joshua T Calvert.
So what is it about? The book jumps back and forth between three story lines. The first is set in 2018 following archaeologist/historian Ron Jackson, who is doing research on a grand pyramid found buried in the ice of the Antarctic. It appears to predate the earliest human civilization, and he tries to unlock its mysteries. Then the next two story lines are set in 2042, where the world is being essentially saved from global warming by a massive corporation called The Human Foundation. One of these stories follows an astronaut named Fillio. She is the only survivor of the first mission to Mars. And the only thing she remembers from the trip is crashing to Earth. She does not remember Mars at all, and she is certain something very important happened up there. So wants to go back. She feels the need to go back, and will do everything in her power to get back to Mars to find out what happened. The third story is about FBI agents Agatha and Pano. They have been assigned to look into the disappearance of Ron Jackson. And the investigation takes them further and further into a conspiracy of the Human Foundation.
The good? This book is well written with good pacing and relatable characters. It has a style that’s very similar to Michael Crichton novels. The world building is great. It’s a very grounded believable world, and it was fun novel. It reminded me of The X Files. With a mysterious man in black showing up here and there, conspiracy theories, a shadowy, powerful, untouchable organization that is above the government and the foreshadowing of aliens, it feels like a long-lost season of the X Files. It really had the 90s science fiction vibe.
The bad? As much fun I had with this story, it was not perfect. And one complain it, this book is not self contained at all. A couple of mysteries are wrapped up, but most of it is to be continued. I know it’s the first book in a trilogy, but most first books have more of a sense of resolution than this. So if you want to read it, you must be in it for the journey than the destination or else you will be very annoyed with this book. Also, though most of this story is grounded in science, the final act does step away into something more fantastical. It is something that may be a little over the top compared to the rest of the novel. I’m sure it’s something will be expanded on and explained in the sequel but it is a strange tonal shift. Also, Pano is a bit of a womanizer. Some people real sensitive nowadays. It didn’t bother me. I actually like Pano, a lot. But some people might not. So I'm just throwing that out there.
Overall, this was a Michael Crichton style scifi tale that had a very 90s vibe. And it was a real fun ride. Though it’s not perfect, it’s really worth the read. So go ahead and check it out.
5 smoothies out of Five
Overall Rating: A Fun Scifi Tale With a Very 90’s Vibe