For the fourth installment of my Halloween special, I am tackling another science fiction story (only Halloween week to go!). “First Contact (In Her Name: the Last War, Book 1)” by Michael R. Hicks. This is book 1 of a trilogy, but is also book 4 of an overall series.
In “First Contact”, the protagonist, Ichiro Sato, is one of a crew that makes mankind’s first contact with a blue-skinned female dominated race of warriors. Ichiro goes through numerous trials both physical, mental, emotional, and political during the course of the book.
I’ll begin with the horror or Halloween aspect of the story: Ichiro’s crew does not have a pleasant experience with their first contact. The Kreelans are a force to be reckoned with and have only one more war in them before their race dies out. A chance encounter with a new intelligent race turns into a slaughter-truly an “in space no one can hear you scream” event.
Hicks has created a universe that is artfully constructed, filled with interesting and memorable characters. The alien civilization he has created is well thought out and imaginative. His descriptions of the space ships, home world, and overall culture makes me wish I could paint or at least sketch so I could see Hicks’ vision myself.
As with Hicks’ descriptions, he has done a wonderful job with the dialog. It moves the story along well, but is mostly done from the Human side of the conflict. The majority of the expression from the Kreelans is shown from the viewpoint of a few key individuals thoughts.
The pacing of the novel is well done. Each scene is orchestrated appropriately, either leading up to the next scene or gently pulling the reader down from the previous one. Within a single chapter, he may switch back and forth between the alien and human point of view, but this is done gracefully and all leading to a specific purpose for the chapter or scene.
I enjoyed this book immensely and look forward to picking up the next book in the series. Michael R. Hicks may be one of my favorite new sci-fi authors. If you love good science fiction, pick up this book. I give it five flags!