Monday, September 2, 2013

Nexus One by Nicolas Wilson

           I was not sure what Nicolas Wilson meant when he told me he was sending me a copy of his space opera, Nexus One. I had run the gambit in my head of what a space opera could actually be, obviously the main thought was space soap opera. In the end I was pleasantly surprised with what I had received.

          Nexus One takes place in the future during a time when the former U.N., now referred to as the United Government or U.G., is attempting to discover extraterrestrial worlds and obtain mining rights from their inhabitants for precious minerals that are becoming scarce on earth. In particular it follows the crew of the Nexus, one of two space ships tasked with searching these worlds out.

          The story is told in the first person following the Captain of the ship and his daily dealings with crew issues, planetary issues, and his own personal 'demons'. Wilson does well delivering a strong character in the Captain, and though he is a depth of emotions his dark and slightly sociopathic side comes out in most of the dialogues between him and his crewmembers.

          As the ship travels and more about its inner workings are explained as the story progresses, Wilson does a spot on job, in true Sci-Fi fashion, of explaining its operations in a way that doesn't leave you wondering how things are possible. Everything from the way the engines work, which was a new way that hasn't been used in every sci-fi fantasy since Star Wars, to the way the probes that reach new planets scan said planet and monitor the locals.

          Each time they visit a new planet Wilson paints a good, strong, picture of new and amazing creatures that fit well into their environments and still seem plausible. The worlds range from giant shapeless amoebas to strange chameleon-like psychics, each one fascinating and new.

          The one thing that Nexus keeps going back to throughout, and one of the best and worst parts about it, is the crew interactions during the long treks in between planets. As the story progresses you are introduced to more and more characters, each with his or her own personality; even the ships A.I. has a strong individual personality that garnered a chuckle from me on more than one occasion.

          The story has several positive moments that kept me interested throughout:
  • Nexus One travels at, like the ship, near light speed. It quickly moves, in a way that is very smooth and precise.
  • The characters all feel like individuals and have their own nuances in the speak that keeps them feeling separate, which is no easy feat when you consider the amount of characters throughout the story.
  • The setting is new, and the ship itself is unique. This includes each world that feels like something I'd never seen, though also like something I could see.
         In contrast to the pros, there were a couple things that I would consider to be cons:
  • Though the characters are unique, and most dialogues are well done. Several times, especially the character of the Captain, the conversations are filled with more sexual innuendo than they needed.
  • This is more of an extension than the first con than a new one, but the sexual aspects were really forced onto a couple of the worlds where event he A.I. seemed to be getting involved. It almost goes back to Captain Kirk and the green women, though on a more modern and extreme level.

          In the end Nexus One is a really good read with a smooth flow, wonderful characters and a strong new story. I definitely recommend picking it up, even if you aren't a fan of Sci-fi. There is a LOT of adult related material, including two pages of describing combination testicles and breasts, but overall its more fun/funny rather than graphic.

Overall I'm going to give Nexus One by Nicholas Wilson a 7/10 based on:

8/10 for readability- The story flows well throughout and keeps you turning the page wondering what Wilson has in store for the next world.

8/10 for story- Though exploring planets and traveling through space is a premise for several books, Nexus One goes about it in a different way. It's filled with the elements that not only make a good Sci-fi adventure, but also just a good read.

7/10 for characters- As I mentioned earlier I really enjoyed the characters. Wilson created several characters, each with their own personality and behavior. One thing that set them back a bit was the dialogue hindered them a little. On one hand you would have a brilliant psychiatrist, then every other sentence in an exchange is sexual in manner. The humor was there but it being laid on a little bit thick took away from some of the characters.

7/10 for humor- The dialogue is riddled with sexual innuendo and jokes that while funny for the most part, tend to weigh it down some. The humor itself is one of the main pieces that makes this story different than the rest. For the most part it hits home, but there are a few instances when it doesn't quite hit the mark.

          Thank you to Nicolas Wilson for giving me the opportunity to read and review Nexus One. It was a step out of my comfort zone, one that I'm very happy I got to take.

If you're interested in checking out Nexus One for yourself click here.

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