by Peter Lamana

"The One was going to save this civilization for its own good 'like it or not.'"

The search for extraterrestrial life and first contact have long been themes of science fiction novels. In 1978, NASA launched interstellar vessel Venture 1 on a quest to photograph the Solar System's planets and transmit data from its journey back to earth. It isn't until decades later, however, that Venture encounters such a civilization, or in this case, The One.

As its name implies, The One is an amalgamation of intelligent species absorbed into one technological consciousness whose sole purpose is to assimilate other species into its collective whole. A close approximation might be the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation. When Venture crosses its path, The One turns its attention to the source of the spacecraft: Earth.

Lamana spends an ample amount of pages setting up the situation by detailing The One's origin, philosophy, and intent. At times, the information is a bit overwhelming and reads more like a textbook than a novel, but Lamana makes up for it in part by skillfully interweaving a pair of storylines on earth. A scientist tasked with monitoring Venture's interstellar journey and a 15-year-old, Tim Ludyte, whose high school senior project involves research into Venture, soon discover the Venture is broadcasting possible signals from an extraterrestrial nature. The pair race to prove their findings and what it could mean for mankind, while racing to keep the information from falling into the wrong hands.

Lamana admits his fascination for astronomical sciences in his bio and it shows in the care and detail he puts forth in the scientific aspects of this debut novel. Readers, however, may be disheartened that the story does not reach a conclusion here and will have to await Book two.

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