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Jury Duty (First Contact) Paperback – May 19, 2021
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The United Nations is thrown into chaos when an alien spacecraft is discovered buried beneath the ice in Antarctica. With no one nation able to lay claim to the craft, a multinational effort is undertaken to salvage the vessel, which is estimated to have crashed several hundred thousand years ago. Rather than leaving key decisions to hostile governments or their armies, a jury is established to represent the average global citizen, being selected from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Their job is to review findings and guide the process of discovery.
The FIRST CONTACT series is like BLACK MIRROR or THE TWILIGHT ZONE in that it is based on a common theme rather than common characters. This allows the series to be read in any order. Technically, they're all first as they all deal with how we might respond to contact with an alien intelligence. This series explores the social, political, religious and scientific aspects of First Contact.
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- ASIN : B095GHZPGC
- Publisher : Independently published (May 19, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 388 pages
- ISBN-13 : 979-8506891468
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.88 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #372,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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And this character development is the predominant feature in this book, with the idea of First Contact taking a backseat to the human condition. The story is actually about spousal abuse and how abusers are treated, rewarded, and viewed with blinders by society. Peter has never shied away from hot button issues and in this book, tackled another one. The protagonist in this book goes through life changing experiences and comes out a better human being by the end of the book. Let's hope at least one abuser will read this book, realizes what has been happening with their life, and makes the appropriate changes.
But the thing that really hit home with me was Peter's description of Antartica and life down there. His detail made it appear that he has been there and experienced it first hand. Peter's research into whatever subject he is writing about is spectacularly extensive and it shows in this book.
While I still consider his last book, Wherever Seeds May Fall, to be his best work and possibly the best science fiction book I have ever read, Jury Duty comes in as a close second. Peter showed maturity as a writer and a capability of writing about different things, tackling difficult subject matters with ease. This book definitely deserves five stars.
We don't get to the first contact until near the end of the book but along the way we watch a man grow in mature in some of the best moral repartee since early Greg Egan.
I've read a lot of Cawdron in the last few years and this one was a bit of a shock. The leap in his writing from even recent works is comparable to that of Philip K. Dick after his 1974 religious experience. Cawdron has never been a mediocre writer; now he is a formidable one.
And Jury Duty is an excellent book.
Things just happen - a loser is selected for a global jury, all members (Chinese, Russian, French, etc) speak English - even peasants, we manage to "save" a race with godlike powers who "crashed" on Earth (reason never disclosed). people go comatose - some wake others don't, a ship "wakes up" after 430,000 years and builds itself but needs material from a 10 megaton (LOL) bomb. (The largest in our arsenal is 1.2 M.)
At last we meet the alien (sort of) and like Close Encounters our local yokel is chosen to go along. But in true 1950's Big Show fashion they perform medical experiments on him. In fact the whole thing reeks of really bad sci-fi. But alas, those evil ETs have a change of heart and deliver him back to good old SC where wouldn't you know, he (with top of head removed) meets his long lost love. My Grade - C
It's a good travelogue of the polar cap, the cold, storms, habitat, hellish conditions. Biut that's 2/3 of the book.
By the time the book wraps up you've got people miming to eachother, and communication and understanding complex concepts in the simplest of ways, similar to a random child understanding Lassie when he tells them about Timmy falling down a well.
The author relies too heavily on memes, slang, and obscure pop culture knowledge that doesn't fit the characters saying the words, and they reference too many other, better stories with similar situations, with the number one exception being The Abyss, a movie reference that would have been a little too on the nose, perhaps.
All in all, the science and physical aspects of the book work well, but the human side of the book reads as though it were written by an immature writer with a very loose grasp of complex adult interactions and situations.
The story isn't terrible, but the ending is rather hasty, and the First Contact promise of the books title under delivers.
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I would have preferred an earlier ending.
Yes, there is an alien first contact in the book but it is far more an exploration of the human psyche and the individuals within it which, combined with the terrors of Antarctica so brilliantly reconstructed for the reader, make this a fascinating and exciting read
This is a fine piece of literature never mind SF, if you choose to read I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
This one was not only a page Turner but absolutely intriguing!
Keep them coming, Peter 😉