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Fluency (Confluence) Paperback – June 25, 2014
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"Reading Fluency is like discovering a new band in some tiny bar and knowing they are going to be huge. Fluency beautifully straddles that perilous line of giving the reader just enough technical information to be very believable, but not enough to bog anyone down." (Travis Mohrman, author of Down The Path)
About the Author
Jen lives an alternately chaotic and fairly bucolic existence in Indiana with two boisterous little boys, a supportive husband, a mildly unhinged Labrador retriever, and three chubby rambunctious cats as housemates.
Having studied biology, Jen's possessed with a keen interest in science and technology. She's 100% geek and proud of it. You can find her on Twitter, extolling science and scifi fandoms, as @Jenthulhu. To find out more about Jen, visit: jenthulhu.com
- Publisher : Blue Bedlam Books (June 25, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 354 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0990479811
- ISBN-13 : 978-0990479819
- Item Weight : 15.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.89 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,585,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The author does a great job of layering complications, the kind one would expect in such a situation, but without loading too much on the reader at any one time. She also manages a solid balance of science and characterization, never sacrificing one for the other. There are some hand-waving elements, but not ridiculously so.
Overall recommended for hard and soft SF fans.
I loved the idea behind this story, but there were some things that kept throwing me out of the story. The F bomb. Sometimes the dialogue felt unrealistic or simply repetitive, and Jane Holloway was apparently Wonder Woman while being super humble about it. That sounds harsher than I mean it. I actually liked Jane because she didn't give up.
It took a bit to adjust to the back and forth in time of some of the scenes, but I understand why it was necessary. The switch in points of view as well as moving back and forth in time helped augment the feeling that you couldn't believe everything that was happening. Jane is being manipulated the whole time, tested, and maneuvered into making the choice the alien Ei'Brai wants her to make. He even goes so far as to give Jane the sexual encounter she'd been dreaming of having with Bergen as, wait for it, a very realistic dream. It boils down to mental rape in a way. In the end, things have worked themselves out. Sort of. Jane is now captain of the ship, several of her team look like they might stay with her for the next journey, and Bergen is just as determined to make a relationship work with her.
It was a good book. I think the things that bothered me were simply because this reminded me of another book where the captain has to "link" with the ship in order for it to work. That book however didn't use language or sex to move the plot along--and I loved that.
I give Fluency a 3.75 and an R rating for use of the F word and some the one scene.
1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure
Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
R--swearing (F bomb), on “screen” sex, sometimes feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot, but not always
Wow, Fluency (Volume 1 of the Confluence Series) what a terrific read by Jennifer Foehner Wells! I’m not a big reader of the Sci Fi genre but while perusing Amazon for my next couple of reads I luckily hit on Jennifer’s amazing novel. From the opening review line, “NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960s,” I was hooked: And Ms Wells did not let me down! A combination of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek, Fluency whetted my Sci Fi appetite and sated me with a wonderful journey into the possibilities of tomorrow.
Dr. Jane Holloway is a linguist recruited by Nasa to travel to what appears to be an abandoned alien Space Craft. Trouble is when the NASA crew arrives at the behemoth ship and dock, they realize the space craft is not abandoned although the crew is gone. Soon, Dr. Holloway makes intellectual contact with the ship’s Navigator, a being of massive intellect, who is all that is left of the original alien crew. From there the story deliciously takes off in a well written space suspense thriller that will kept the reader well entertained and intelligently engaged.
Character development was superb, complex and masterfully done. Ms. Wells weaves alien and human mind interaction in a beautifully poignant story of hope, fear and eventual acceptance.
No gratuitous violence, language or sex: But just enough of each to keep the story real and moving at a perfect clip.
Hearty recommend. I’m hooked and have already ordered Remanence (Volume 2 of the Confluence Series). This Sci Fi novel is no shoot-‘em-up bang-bang space western, but rather a well written, thoughtful, “what if” space mystery along the lines of astronaut Sally Ride Meets HAL from 2001 Space Odyssey. And like Star Trek, when the adventurous Dr. Holloway is queried as to why she decides to stay on the star ship humanly alone she simply said (to paraphrase the iconic Star Trek “To boldly go where no one has gone before”), “Who knows where it will take me?”
Well Done Ms. Foehner Wells, Well Done.
I loved it!!! A small crew of scientists are sent from Nasa into space to dock with a ship they have discovered that seems stuck on an asteroid, or something like that. They choose a woman who has a unique talent with languages to be part of this very small crew, hoping she will quickly find a way to communicate with whoever might be manning this strange ship in space. Little did they know, but they could not have chosen a better candidate, and what happens next is more her story than anything else, but what a story it was!
There is so much going on, action, intrigue, "space monsters" and all manner of wonderful things to enjoy in the telling of this tale. I could hardly stand to put it down to get a good night's sleep.
If you like a good sci-fi outer space adventure, you will love this book! I highly recommend it!
Top reviews from other countries
There are also some things I liked less, like the somewhat wayward depiction of the group of astronauts selected for the mission. I couldn’t decide whether to call them stereotypes or just ‘would NASA really not weed these people out?’ But then, with the sort of people appointed to positions of power these days, and the possibility that NASA actually wants to the mission to fail, well, I suppose you can just about get away with them. They do make for a lot of inter-personnel (deliberate) tension, and they certainly have very different objectives from each other. Jane, being a civilian, is allowed to have different objectives, of course.
The basis of the communication between the alien and Jane is a form of telepathy. That leads to some interesting scenes, where eventually you wonder what is real and what is not. There are some very icky mammoth man-corroding slugs which appear to be real. As I said, the world building (and the alien science & technology) is very well done. Some reviews have hammered the writing, but I didn’t notice anything too clichéd (apart from the whole set-up).
Fluency is an excellent story, with some ingenious twists on the ‘what really happened at Roswell’ theme. In the end it leads to a series. I’m not sure I’m sufficiently sold on Jane’s adventure to continue it, but I do recommend the books to others who wonder what those little green men might turn out to be.
It’s an extraordinarily gripping tale about a woman, Jane, whose language and interpretation skills and previously outstanding professional history cause her to be chosen as joint lead in an expedition to investigate an apparently deserted alien spaceship.
How she deals with the challenges and the internecine conflicts within her own team, her own burgeoning romance and the wonderfully detailed world of the alien ship is nothing short of superb.
I can’t afford it, and I have a million other books to read first but, dammit, I’m getting ‘Remanence’ right now.
It's exciting and fast-paced, and laced with more than a little humour. Thank you for writing this, Jennifer!