UnEarthed, by Rebecca Bloomer: an adventure on Mars

‘No one can predict the future, Jodi Scarfield .The universe is possessed of infinite possibility and you’re exploring just one.’

But Jodi is whisked away from hacking into the Earth government security systems to another world entirely by her mother who, knowing nothing of her daughter’s activities, wants to join her husband on Mars.  A four months’ journey follows.

Not night black, this was space black, a deep, scary kind of darkness that came with emptiness.”

As they close on their destination, Jodi reflects on certain personal matters about shuttle travel that no-one thinks to tell you about: how your inert body gets poked about and studied both outside and inside by the shuttle crew, for instance, and the extraordinary amount of body hair that has to be shaved off after four months growth! Also, the landing shuttle is not supposed to plunge like a dart to the surface. But calamity is averted and her parents attempt their renewal of domestic bliss. Somehow, that is not quite going to plan.

” So here you are on a war god planet being circled by Fear and Dread.’ (i.e. Mars and it’s moons Phobos and Deimos.

unearthly 2519

Mars is rampant in our popular culture. Scientists and film makers can’t leave the red planet alone. Explorers played by Val Kilmer and Matt Damon have been cinematically abandoned there. Billionaires are selling one way tickets for a voyage there of dubious value. And surely we have all, at least once, imagined ourselves able to live on another planet under a big protective bubble, protected by every kind of engineering wonder.

‘ It was supposed to be a colony but could anything human really survive in world where even the fish were organised?’

But have we thought it through? What about how precious the water and how short your shower is going to be? Or how a small, isolated population on a hostile surface is bound to reinvent  social conventions, transport, education, clothes? Did we forget that there is going to be ugly politics no matter where we go?

Jodi is still absorbing the features of her new life with the help of her new friend Astrid when she runs into Jules. More accurately, he keeps sneaking up behind her. We readers twig this can’t be good. Jules’ good looks almost turn Jodi’s head. But there is something about Jules …

I liked Jodi for being realistically naive about her new home, as easily impressed by appearances as all of us, as frightened as any one would be in a desperate situation, but always able – with the minds-eye of a code hacker – to spot glitches in patterns, including of human behaviour, that give her warning signs of trouble.  If only she would act on them a touch faster than she does!

A breathless adventure that is grounded (yes, grounded- there’s gravity under that dome) in a plethora of fascinating insights into interplanetary life. I also loved the cover by Kerem Dogus.

Rebecca Boomer has followed up Unearthed with Unearthly which picks up with Jodi and her friend Astrid 18 months later on what is supposed to be a dull assignment. My Review on this web den, spoiler free, is here– (but do you really want to know yet?)

UnEarthly by Rebecca Bloomer is published by  Odyssey Books. The cover artwork is by Elijah Token.  It follows up UnEarthed where Jodi first arrives on Mars. Plonk paws here for my Review on this web den.

Where to find it:  UnEarthed and UnEarthly are available all over this Earth, including, with free shipping, at Bookdepository.com , also at Amazon.

Rebecca Bloomer has also written Foley Russel and That Poor Girl and Willow Farrington Bites Back.

You are at Mark’s blog called Baffled Bear Books. Mark is a dark coffee tragic and bibliophile as well as the Guardian and blundering typist for Mawson Bear, Ponderer of Baffling Things and one of this bright world’s few published bears.

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