Friday, February 19, 2016

James Review -- The Ever-Expanding Universe: Mothership

This week I decided to review the re-release of The Ever-Expanding Universe: Mothership by Isla Neal and Martin Leicht.

The story begins with Elvie Nara on the Hanover School for Expecting Mothers, once an abandoned orbital cruise ship that has been converted into a school. Unfortunately for Elvie, her old nemesis Britta McVicker, whose baby shares a father with Elvie’s child, is on the ship as well, and the mutual father wanted nothing to do with Elvie after she got pregnant, After a confrontation with Britta, Elvie travels to the snack area and hacks the vending machines into giving her whatever she wants. But then she sees an unknown ship dock with the school and drop armed troops onto the ship.

She flees, gathering some more girls in the process, but they soon find the school’s staff drowning the students, and Elvie discovers that Cole Archer, the father of her baby and Britta’s is part of the invading force. The commandos explain that the staff members are really part of a group of aliens called the Jin’Kai. But when the commando team receives a message from their home base, Elvie recognizes their commander in chief as her favorite actor, James Dean, who has been dead since the 1950s, Cole is forced to reveal the truth. He and the commandos are part of an alien group known as the Almiri, which have lived among humans for thousands of years, with many of the great figures of human history actually being Almiri, and the Jin’Kai, who are newly arrived to Earth,  are another group from the same species. Their species is incredibly long lived but solely composed of males, so they breed with females of compatible species, but the birthing process renders their mothers sterile. On their homeworld, they accidentally bred with their first host species until that species died out due to the lack of fertile females.

The Almiri have a code that strictly limits their rate of breeding to avoid that tragedy repeating, a code Cole broke by impregnating Elvie, while the Jin’Kai see nothing wrong with breeding host species to extinction and both groups are now trying to wipe out the other. But with the school ship damaged and going down, the ship that brought the commandos destroyed, and a saboteur acting to block escape while Jin’kai reinforcements close in to finish the job, the situation is growing more desperate by the second. There are also a number of flashbacks to Elvie’s life on Earth and the early phases of her relationship with Cole.

I give this book 8 out of 10. Overall it was very amusing to me, though the sheer insanity of the plot might be bothersome to some people. Also, sometimes there were a few too many references to current culture and other franchises for my taste, like the Jin’kai born of a previous host species who are described as Predator and Xenomorph hybrids. Also there are a few things in the plot that don’t make sense to me, like the entire orbital school being set up as bait for Almiri mothers-to-be. Elvie wanted to go to space even before she was pregnant but was the same supposed to be true for all the girls? Was there some side effect to the pregnancy that made space more attractive to the girls? Was some kind of subliminal messaging involved, or what? I think something like this should have been explained beyond the reader being told the school was set up to lure girls impregnated by Almiri in.

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