Letter 44

Alberto J. Alburquerque (illus.). Vol. 3: Dark Matter. Oni. Jan. 2016. 160p. ISBN 9781620102725. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781620102770. SF
When Stephen Blades became U.S. president, he discovered that his predecessor Francis Carroll had found out about an alien space probe in the asteroid belt and kept it secret. Employing global economic manipulation, Carroll financed the sending of manned spaceship the Clarke on a suicide mission to investigate. Blades told the world about the extraterrestrials and the Clarke—but the resulting chaos, exploited behind the scenes by a still-scheming Carroll, led to World War III. Meanwhile, the Clarke made first contact, but the aliens' statements and motives proved cryptic. Here the crew of the now-disabled vessel discovers an asteroid on a collision course with Earth and tries desperately to send home a warning, but the aliens are preventing all outside communication. Meanwhile, war rages on Earth and the extent of Carroll's plans becomes chillingly clear. Heavy drama, high stakes, mystery and intrigue abound—not least surrounding the baby Astra, conceived and secretly born in space aboard the Clarke, whose intelligence is developing much faster than normal.
VERDICT A very strong entry in the current for-mature-readers sf trend. With nudity and sex.
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