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Book Review: Beyond Luna by Bob Freeman

Beyond Luna by Bob Freeman

Genre: Science Fiction

A series that’s set to take you on the ride of your part road trip, part solar sailing. Into a world almost parallel to our own (but not quite.) 

Soaring through the heliosphere through the asteroid belt on Solar Sail cargo ships, the unlikely crew of the LunaCola finds themselves jumping from odd job to odd job, foraging supplies from Earth and sea and hitting up the casinos around Sol to gamble their bounty and add to their pot. Their adventures cross paths with everything from pirates, anarchy, poker games to jail time. 

This is a space adventure unique to its own with characters who are just as out of this realm of reality, entertaining and unforgettable. And after your cruise through the Asteroid belt, Mars, and Luna, settle down on Earth for a party in the desert. They’ll bring the Carne Asada burritos and count on you to bring the fun.

Beyond Luna Review

I was compensated with a small amount for my time and effort in reading the book and writing this review. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and are based on my honest personal experience reading the book. Nor did the publisher in any way shape or form ever pressure me to give a positive review.

Bob Freeman’s Beyond Luna transports readers to the LunaCola, a Solar Sail freight ship manned by a peculiar mix of people, dogs, orangutans, and mollusks, as they go on an exciting space trip across the heliosphere. In this alternative universe, the gang searches for odd jobs and forages for supplies while navigating encounters with pirates, chaos, and high-stakes poker games.

They encounter the ongoing peril of space travel as they traverse the asteroid belt, Mars, and Luna, where even the smallest error could mean catastrophic consequences. Freeman introduces readers to the cutting-edge H2LiftShip technology while eloquently capturing the thrill and danger of discovering life beyond Earth. Fans of space travel and adventure can find Beyond Luna to be an unforgettable and interesting voyage because of its distinctive characters and exciting plot.

As someone who is in Arts but has some science background, it’s a truly captivating experience to delve into another science fiction novel written by an author with genuine expertise in a STEM-related field. For those unfamiliar, the author has backgrounds in both microbiology and programming, setting a high bar for the worldbuilding and scientific logicistics behind it. Unsurprisingly, this made the worldbuilding and the quality of the science itself one of the best strengths of the book. If you’re the type of reviewer who finds inconsistencies in worldbuilding a dealbreaker, this book is sure to satisfy that need given the meticulous attention to detail.

However, this strength also leads to one of its biggest weaknesses, which is how it often reads more like a scientific report than an engaging novel. Even if the author is aware of this and is making an effort to rectify it, considering how it hurts the entertainment value of the book, I believe it is still an important issue that warrants full transparency on my part. As someone with a strong background in the arts, I’ve read a lot of scientific literature and have noticed a distinct contrast in writing styles between the two fields. Hopefully, the author will eventually be able to smoothly transition from science fiction to non-fiction narrative by finding a balance between the two genres.

I’ve also noticed several grammatical errors in the writing, particularly in the dialogues. Currently, I’m reading the free ARC version provided by the author, so I’m unsure if these mistakes made it into the official purchasable version. However, I hope the author will undertake more thorough proofreading to rectify these issues. For example, ‘Recovering his composure, Jack spoke up, ‘My Captain wants to select these genetic matches,’ as he handed over the bioGel list to Kaskae,’ should have been written as, ‘After recovering his composure, Jack spoke up, ‘My Captain wishes to select these genetic matches,’ as he handed the bioGel list to Kaskae.’

Both the story’s development and the characters themselves also have an uninspired feel to them. This is due to a number of things, including but not limited to the author’s more direct and deadpan writing style, which does not allow for much colorful storytelling. Furthermore, there appears to be an overemphasis on the scientific aspects of science fiction, overshadowing the equally significant function of entertaining through fiction. It seems like the story puts more emphasis on scientific exposition correctness and detail than it does on making the reader feel excited and fully immersed. As such, the narrative could come across as a little flat and devoid of the creative energy that makes for compelling fiction.

Furthermore, the book’s story layout sometimes takes a…more odd approach that doesn’t help to keep the readers interested when reading. The best example I can find of this is the layout of Chapter 15, “Shopping Trip.” The chapter starts off with the title “Shopping Trip” so that already gives you a pretty complete idea of what this chapter would be about and there is nothing wrong with that. But then within the chapter, you go really quickly from “Desert Travel”, to “Rocks”, then “Lunch”, etc in that order. They are all very short, come back to back to each other, and are in quick succession. Listing it out like this combined with the title of the chapter shows how it’s literally written in an actual timeline format, with quick paragraphs outlining what happened at each point of the timeline. This combined with the writing style issues mentioned earlier did not help keep me interested when reading.

In conclusion, I would like to say that I sincerely appreciate the author’s amazing efforts in creating a world that is incredibly realistic and incorporating complex scientific concepts into the story. But it’s crucial that the writer maintains equilibrium and doesn’t undervalue the fundamental “fiction” component of science fiction. The world-building and scientific correctness is certainly amazing, but the storytelling should also put an emphasis on imagination, inventiveness, and the capacity to draw readers into engrossing and engaging fictional worlds. An increased reading experience and wider readership can be achieved by the author by making sure that the scientific and imaginative elements receive the same consideration and care.

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About the Author of Beyond Luna

Bob Freeman, a sci-fi author, microbiologist, and programmer, has launched his new space opera series, H2LiftShips, which imagines a world where humans have colonized the solar system using solar sail-powered cargo ships. The series follows the adventures of various characters, including Captain Graciela Lucerne and her canine, simian, and octopus crew, as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of living and working in space.

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