Friday, April 18, 2014

Fractal Standard Time (Chronopticus Chronicles #1) by Michael Galloway

Release Date: August 2013
Publisher: Candlepower Publishing House
Series: Chronopticus Chronicles, Book 1

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Inspired by a childhood experience, Steven Entner puts everything on the line in order to lay the groundwork for a thriving, sustainable colony on Mars. Through his own life's work and that of his descendents, far-reaching and important advances are made in technology. It allows for the first of many settlements to be built upon Martian soil.

But with unrestrained progress brings its own set of consequences. The inhabitants of the settlements have long forgotten what Earth felt, looked, tasted and smelled like. Can they beat back the power of the machines in order to keep their Eden on Mars? Will they succumb to the thirst of more power?

I won this book from a free giveaway at GoodReads. Despite the thinness of the book, the pages were filled with lots of information and key situations or clues that were easily missed if one skimmed over the story. I found myself going back a paragraph or two in order to find the piece I'd missed while moving too fast within the story. There wasn't a lot of deep technological discussion within the book, but there was enough to explain the theories or procedures for the layperson. I was grateful that the author used the characters, as well as the story itself, to explain them.

Each of the chapters were akin to short stories and contained a branch of the main character's family within them. Beginning with Steven Entner as a child, we're shown his first experience with the possibility of traveling from Earth and the rise of his desire to do that very thing. Over the course of the book, the decisions he made directly affected the outcome of the next chapter. This was repeated with Steven's descendents in the chapters that followed. Many of the characters, both main and supporting, were fleshed out and felt real to me because of their doubts, questions, and actions.

Because a majority of the story took place on Mars, I can't say that I was able to feel an attachment to the surroundings. However, the author did a great job creating a vision of what we might expect from the red planet. Whether it was a home, a workplace or deep in the Martian mines, it was easy to imagine what the inhabitants faced. I think the choice of placing most of the action on Mars also helped to keep the story moving at a steady, even pace throughout the book. Once the story unfolded, there was no stopping until the last page.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and what might happen to us should we get ahead of ourselves in terms of technology and lose our humanity. Only a couple of things kept this from being rated higher. First, I found many places that could use some editing. Not only were there missing punctuation, but the author used "and" to connect things instead of finding a smoother transition. Secondly, I was confused on the timing in the book while the people were still on Earth. I knew time would be affected on Mars. In the end of one chapter, it was implied that Steven's son was young. Only a couple of years later, he acted like a teen. Two more years later, he was leading a crew onto Mars. I got the feeling he was more of a young man in his 20s from that chapter. It was all a bit confusing. Otherwise, I really liked the ideas brought forth by the story as well as the what-if questions it presented.

Fractal Standard Time (Chronopticus Chronicles #1) by Michael Galloway is currently available for purchase at many online retailers and the author's site ( ). You can purchase a copy in either Kindle or paperback format. Click the link below to get your copy from Amazon or the above link for either format.
Fractal Standard Time (Chronopticus Chronicles #1) by Michael Galloway

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