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Publisher's Summary

When Jack Harrison climbed down the short ladder from the airlock and stepped onto the debris covered soil, the ground crackled with the sound of dried leaves and twigs.

Warm sunlight shone on his helmet, making him almost forget the decade he just spent captaining Earth’s first ship to another star system. The serene tropical surroundings, though, stood in stark contrast to the long-abandoned structures that lay nearby.

Evidence points to a massacre; the systematic extermination of an alien colony hundreds of millennia ahead of humanity. Time, however, has erased any trace of the attackers.

Jack and his crew barely start probing the ruins before their curiosity betrays them as an abandoned alien device cuts them off from their main ship. Lost and short on supplies, survival soon becomes their only goal. Even their short-lived rescue by an alien race, who themselves are under siege, offers little hope. As they struggle to find a way home, signs begin pointing to a danger darker than any they could have foreseen. Jack knows that playing it safe may no longer be an option - but his only other choice is to confront a threat that they can’t even begin to understand.

©2019 Andreas Karpf (P)2020 Podium Audio

Critic Reviews

"Fans of hard science fiction will particularly enjoy this thought-out, well-paced tale of a small crew's unintentional close encounter.” (Kirkus Reviews)

"A very smart story [with] well-organized prose.” (Judge, 7th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published eBook Awards) 

"Best sci-fi I've read in a long time!" (Steven Moore, author)

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What listeners say about Prelude to Extinction

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story okay characters

The first thing I would like to point out is the speed of this book at 1.0 on the audible player on my phone was really slow. It didn't sound like someone talking in slow motion, the speed at which the narrator was talking/reading was slow, So I listened to this at 1.10 speed which was much better.

Now, the characters in the story were kinda weak. We don't get much in the way of character development which is okay if the characters in the story are actually "in character." But the people in this story just didn't come across as people who would actually have the positions they were supposed to be holding. They did manage to come to the correct conclusions about things and make the right decisions but the interaction of the characters in various situations just wasn't how they would be considering the mission at hand. If the next book has none of the original characters that would be fine with me.

The narration is just okay. The narrator tries to do different voices and intonations but just doesn't quite pull it off.

The science part of this science fiction story was good but there were some times when some things didn't add up, but to move the story along suspending disbelief form time to time is okay.

So this seems to be the first book in a series of books to come in this universe. This could go a couple of ways. If the story dwells on the minutia of Earth's politics and social issues then I am out. But if the author keeps focused on the story arc and gets humanity to where it needs to be then I am in. The ground work for a really good space opera has been laid and I hope the author doesn't get side tracked.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Deep Space Exploration with twists

Awesome listen with plausible situations with logical outcomes. The hard science aspects of the book are easily understood and explained in good detail.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A great deal of potential and a fun listen. But..

Random tip #1, if you are going to write for audio, please reconsider the use of the name "Jack." If a Jack has to be in your story, I'd avoid the use of the phrase "Jack Asked." Jack asks so many questions that one's mind's eye keeps picturing Donkey from Shrek.

Jack's got serious anger issues, and hits walls too often to belive. His fist would be a mangled lump of meat by July 30th.

And Don? Just no. No ship's Captain would ever tolerate that level of insubordination. That's just not the way life on a ship works. Throw him out an airlock.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Don MUST Die

This story had so much potential but was ruined by being filled with obnoxious characters and ridiculous conversations. Impossible to believe any of these clowns would be chosen to crew the first mission to another planet. Every plot twist was filled with over the top reactions and angry shouting.
I actually liked the bits of science here and there and the plot unfolds quickly.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

mildly enjoyable space exploration story

It's a straight-ahead story utilizing many standard SF tropes, though it does include a few twists. Some of the characters need to be put into the metaphorical recycler: They are too annoying to suffer. All of the characters are one-trick ponies. Even so, I enjoyed it -- mildly.

I like Johnathan Davis, but I wouldn't say he was at his best with this one. I didn't like the way he voiced the "she said" type stuff. The way he did so each time seemed as though it was the prelude to the next person speaking rather than the one who just finished.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Serious science fiction.

A good read. I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of how the ship's design protects the crew from radiation on the long interstellar journey at sub-light speed. Discovering a lush world with evidence of conflict sends the reader into fantastic world of wonder, discovery, conflict and resolution. This is "what if" science fiction at its best!

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Would not recommend this

I listened to this through the Plus program, otherwise I would request a refund. Almost didn’t make it through the book as I felt it went off the rails after the first hour or so.

The main characters lacked any development, with no real depth - so a loss of a character had no real impact. Their behavior was amateurish and not at all representatives of professionals selected for a journey of this singular import to humanity. Even their 1950’s American names were out of place.

The story development, once about mid way through the book, seemed to run out of steam, and the antagonists’ behavior seemed derivative and almost clownish. I feel that so much more could have been accomplished with the book’s length. The narrator - who has done a fantastic job with other stories - was directed to overdue character delivery and reaction, contributing to childish behavior by these ‘professionals’

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good plot, some weak characters

Enjoyed listening to the book. Two of the characters became stereotypical and absurd overtime. Jack who is supposed to be the leader, spends much of the book describing how he can’t do things that any normal leader would do. And the irritated engineer character is so formulaic and overblown that he would never of been allowed in a spaceship. A little more moderation in the characters would’ve made it more enjoyable, but overall, it was a good story.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Smart science bad psychology

Good science and interesting plot.
However the characters were not believable. Their dialogue was simplistic and their reactions to situations was not believable. Many of the characters were ridiculous and very unlikable. Had to stop about half way through as the character development became to painful to continue.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too much science, not enough story

Half way through this offering, I decided to expend no more time ‘trying’ to enjoy the story. Little if any, character development and bloated with science. Storyline would have been intriguing were it not buried in overt technical spiel.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for David Maher
  • David Maher
  • 08-18-21

fairly ordinary

The narrator seems to think he is a tough guy. The story is average. the novel has"filler" bits like, " come and look at this", "what is it"? "come here and see".

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Phil Endley
  • Phil Endley
  • 01-17-21

Great Plot, Dreadful Characters

This is a gripping plot that is spoiled by terribly-written characters. There is a lot of ‘he shouted’ and little reflection. The female characters seldom get beyond one dimension. Does the author really think anyone would select such an incompatible and angry leadership team for a spaceship? Oh well.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Ryan
  • Ryan
  • 10-19-20

Hard Sci-fi

The Good: Wow! This book being written by a scientist leads to the physics, explanations and elements ending up super convincing and believable.

The main characters being scientists is a bit of a nice change from being hard core military hero’s. Although not weak it added an element of exploration and wonder to the universe not just run and gun.

There are twists and surprises which are nice. The explanation of Time... woh that blew my mind... The story is solid and I can’t wait for the next one to see where it goes!

The Bad: The characters are to put it nicely ...boring. Maybe it was the way it was read (but hats off to the narrator for even tackling this book!)

The narrator was a bit stilted in some parts and the dialogue didn’t really flow too well. The voices were just different enough to be distinguished. It may be an idiomatic thing, but his pronunciation on some words was very different to what I’m used to. Some of the dialogue was like the narrator was trying to hide that he was reading the book out loud.

Some of the raised voices were read in a hushed angry tone. It was as if he just couldn’t bring himself to really connect with the characters. But still a better job than I could have done.

The Ugly: Audio quality near the end got a bit weird... there was an slight echo/feedback or something that post editing missed I think. It was annoying, but it didn’t completely ruin it.

The conversations could be cut in half and the book wouldn’t miss out on anything. Oh my word. Arguments go on and on and on... the arguments are pointless sometimes and the argument once settled gets raised again like 2 seconds later.

I get it human nature and whatever, but heck it’s almost like the author was being paid per word cause he put some filler in there for sure! Spend that time on developing characters and universes, not flogging a dead horse.

The winy argumentative characters almost make you want them to not make it.

Anyways read/listen and make your mind up. I’m still keen for the next one!