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Publisher's Summary

Anomaly examines the prospect of an alien intelligence discovering life on Earth. The technological gulf between humanity and the alien species is measured in terms of millions of years. The only way to communicate is using science, but not everyone is so patient.

Humanity's first contact with an alien intelligence is far more radical than anyone has ever dared imagine. With a technological gap of millions of years, mankind is barely able to recognize the arrival of an alien space craft outside the gates of the United Nations in New York.

©2011 Peter Cawdron (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved

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Human decisions strain credulity

When I read SciFi, I am perfectly happy to suspend my scientific disbelief. But what frustrates me is human relationships and decision-making that require a similar leap. The core story is outstanding. Unfortunately, the author made many very questionable decisions about how humans reacted to the “anomaly” that I had a hard time getting past. For example, why make the main character an elementary school teacher who is inexplicably asked to join the team of elite scientists studying the anomaly? I won’t give anything away, but the government reaction to the anomaly is equally inexplicable. I have not been this frustrated with a story since that book where NASA agreed to let a guy take his car with him on a deep space mission....

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Sophisticated alien contact

Peter Cawdron's Anomaly is a thought provoking tale of alien contact. When a hunk of real estate in front of the United Nations building begins rotating off the ground, a nerdy, but lovable elementary teacher becomes involved in the investigation. As interaction with the "anomaly" proceeds, worldwide mayhem ensues as various groups create havoc. While the ending is a bit formulaic, the approach and gradual understanding about the alien entity is the real draw of the tale.

The main sci-fi element is largely confined to an entity of alien origin that is essentially a "von Neuman machine" which can control gravity and manipulate matter at the sub-atomic level. Conceptually, the science aspect of the story is concerned with the manner of interaction with an alien intelligence that is as far beyond our current scientific understanding as we are to other life forms on Earth. The interaction is creative, compelling, and insightful as to potential modes of demonstrating intelligence. The cultural aspects are also highlighted with a focus on religious implications and likely fears as well as conspiracy theorists having a field day with an alien presence with unknown intentions. Finally, the political dimension is handled, a bit crudely, but somewhat realistically.

The narration is well done, with a good range of voices of both genders.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Fans of exposition rejoice!

What disappointed you about Anomaly?

I didn't know what I was walking into with this book and at first I enjoyed the absurdity of the Anomaly as a character. I enjoyed the way it manipulates the reality that everyone in the book experience and how neither we the reader and the books characters can understand the nature of the Anomaly. That feeling subsided once the exposition picked up pace. It feels every character who interacts with Teller is simply there to allow the author to explain some term or idea that Teller or another character has posed. Did a character mention a scientific idea that the author is certain the reader won't know? Prepare yourself for a long but simplified explanation. From time to time I found myself forgetting what word or concept triggered the long winded and at times patronizing explanation that seems to run on for minutes.

*slight spoiler*The central character, Teller, the school teacher turned scientist is our guide in this journey. Everyone seems to turn to him to answer almost every Anomaly based question as if he were an expert. Even the experts turn to him throughout the book to seek his guidance and opinion as if he were an alien whisperer. In evidence of his arrogance Teller even assumes that the aliens who invented a giant freaking otherworldly glow ball can not understand basic human language and interactions. In his most self reflecting moment he can be somewhat arrogant.

As for those so called NASA scientists who are standing in for science community as a whole. While I appreciate the experts seeking new outside the box thinking but some things the scientists should have considered themselves. I feel like the NASA scientists in this book are portrayed as slightly more intelligent than the school aged kids Teller teaches.How about the side story lines that author let fizzle with little fanfare. What about the UN sanctions and the beating of the war drums on the horizon? Where did the terrorist come from and what roll did they play in the rioting if any?? What is happening to the religious as the faith is tested in light of the realizing that we are not alone in the universe?

In the end, the book wasn't terrible and is more than a little similar to the Carl Sagan novel 'Contact'. But that similarity is probably more hindrance than help.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I'll definitely listen to more P. J. Ochlan's performances

What about P. J. Ochlan’s performance did you like?

His characters are identifiable and well defined.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I'm a fan of sci-fi so I give the book a lot of wiggle room.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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It's a litmus test!


From page one of Anomaly, I was hooked. I was hooked by it's mind bending weirdness, and it's main character, and the idea that a middle grade science teacher might have something to offer to the best scientists in the country. In fact, it's a bit of a love letter to a certain kind of teacher, one that I approve of heartily.

I especially enjoyed how caring Mr. Teller was in wanting to make science fun and informative for his students. I wish I'd had a teacher like him, and I'd love to read another book featuring him.

This would be a great book for a sci fi discussion group because I still can't stop thinking about the characters Peter Cawdron created, or why he went the way he did with the ending. And I'd really like to talk about it with other people who've read it, too.

But each reader will have to decide for themselves how they feel about the ending of this book -- as indicated by the reviews -- because in a way, the ending is a kind of a litmus test that will bring up some of your own baggage. Enjoy!

I look forward to listening to another one of Cawdron's books; I only wonder if they'll all be this fun!


P. J. Ochlan did a great job reading. His male and female voices were excellent, and his secondary characters could be distinguished easily. Nice job, P.J.!


Highly recommended: For people who like first contact sci fi and want to support an author who has created one of the most interesting main characters I've seen: A super smart middle grade science teacher who uses his wits to teach his kids, and some adults, about science by thinking outside the box.

We could stand to have a lot more of that in the world right about now.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • Niagara Falls, NY
  • 10-23-17

Thoughtful Science Fiction At Its Best

Sometimes a book will leave me speechless for good or bad reasons.  Anomaly left me speechless for a couple days because I couldn't find the words to describe how great of a story it really was.  The end of the entire book Cawdron explains a little about what spurred him to write the story the way that it was written -- and I love it even more.  I had just finished the book. I was in that post-great-book-euphoria and then that part comes on and just solidifies my love for the story, characters, and overall way that the story was told.

I think the thing that I liked the most was that the person who was least qualified to make hypothesis was the one that they kept coming back to for answers.  Sometimes you can have all the degrees in the world but it won't help you see something that a school teacher would see.

I also felt that Cawdron did a great job going through the different reactions by different types of people.  From religious to government types -- everyone had a different feeling about it and Cawdron explained it in a way that both made sense and made the book feel incredibly realistic.

Cawdron is quickly becoming my go-to for Science Fiction stories because they remind me of some of the stories that got me into reading Sci-Fi in the first place. It just has that "old school" feel to it without feeling old (if that makes sense).

Overall, Anomaly will stick with me for a long time.  The story was that memorable and well told. Cawdron is a master of his craft and I'm glad I have some other books of his to read soon.

The narration by PJ Ochlan really put the cherry on top of this.  He was able to give voices to the character in such a way that they felt real.  I love that about a good audiobook. 

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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slow clunky and hamfisted.

characters are poorely developed.and the plot line is clunky,slow,and the way everything all the way down to the feelings and reactions of each character being spoon fed like a childrens book is very annoying.i only finnished it for the same reason people run marathons.sure its unpleasant,but i can say i finished.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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This is what sci-fi should be!!!

Anomaly by Peter Cawdron is the book that made me a big Peter Cawdron fan! This just raps up so much of what I love in sci-fi. This is a must for anyone that loves sci-fi! The earth starts rumbling, and the next thing, a giant sphere, several stories tall is floating. Flag poles, half of them, still standing inside the sphere, but the sphere doesn't stay like that. It changes density, pressures, and then, it starts to grow....something. Nations go crazy because they all want a piece of it. Religions go nuts. This is so good...so many surprises...it is remarkable! Brain food!!!
I read/listened the audible version and the narrator, P. J. Ochlan, was totally on it! The tension, the emotions, the fear, excitement, the multitude of voices, all done to perfection!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ginger
  • Birmingham, Al USA
  • 09-01-17

Very much a retailing of "Contact" but good

While there are some new ideas presented the concept of this book is very very "Contact" inspired.

Much like Carl Sagan's book it tends to be some what naive. The authors portrayal of weapons, military, government lacks depth and at times is worse than a Layman's understanding. He should have done far more research into how these operate before portraying them as such central motivation for societies response to such an event.

Some characters go from hyper competent to somehow incapable of exercising their intelligence and education. The portrayal of religion exposes the authors complete lack of familiarity with the subject. His portrayal of governmental response is in no way in touch with reality.

The story seems to lose it's way at times and seems to rush toward a fairly unenlightened encounter with the aliens.

The idea that the world would lose its collective mind as the result of alien contact is a very worn out meme. You tend to get this from authors operating in a bubble where they and their fellows are far removed from understanding the psychology of average people. It is very elitist but oh so common in this kind of story.

This book really needed honest editing and some wide beta reading. I think that might have resulted in a more coherent story, plot and portrayal of society and its state of mind in the 21st cen.

As an author it is your responsibility to better understand society and the elements of your story acting as foils to the enlightened main characters. Even more so if you are putting such an emphasis on society breaking down over the c

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Do you even science, dude?

I've got no problem suspending my disbelief for a good story; Any fan of science fiction or fantasy genres has to do it all the time, because if we knew how magic or sufficiently-advanced science worked, it wouldn't be fiction, would it? But I do have difficulty with authors who are internally inconsistent within their own world. When I learned the protagonist was a grade-school teacher whose only qualification to be on the crackerjack NASA (and NASA is *the only* government agency investigating--hahahaha!) team investigating the world's first alien contact was possession of a balloon-shaped MacGuffin, I was willing to indulge. It was an effort, because our hero'd had a previous Mary Sue moment in which only he, and not the many lettered scientists present, understood the concept of relative motion, but that whole plot point is so inconsistent it beggars description (spoiler to author: yes, Earth rotates. It also revolves around the Sun, and the Sun is moving at a decent pace, as well. Your whole "pointing" idea is a fail, even if we overlook that you don't acknowledge that a rotational axis "points" in two directions).

Still, I was thinking this could be the author's first work, and some hamfisted development could be excused. Uh, nope. He has 12 titles on Audible, and is an "international bestseller," once again proving that not all success is due to talent. But a Christa McAuliffe-like character could be a useful narrative device for making the science accessible. Quite a good idea, actually. But the protagonist, like every other main character, can't stay consistent from one page to the next. In one moment, he's a savant, seeing what the world's brightest can't, and in the next, he fumbles middle-school concepts, and not in an ironic, he's-so-complicated way.

It's not just the hero. There's the authority figure who goes out of his way to be inclusive and warm, making everyone feel welcome when we meet him, then regularly demands guesswork from the hero, only to blow his top when the guess isn't accurate.

I could go on (and on) about other internal inconsistencies of the narrative and the world, or the unnatural dialogue, but if I haven't made my cautionary point by now, I never will. And many more people liked this book than otherwise, so take that into account.

Every year, of the 50-70 audiobooks I consume, there's one or two I just can't finish. Anomaly isn't *that* bad. Or perhaps it was so bad that by the end I was taking a certain enjoyment from the schlockiness of it all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • SEATTLE, WA, United States
  • 12-22-17

Derivative but fun!

OK I admit this offering is highly derivative of the category ( firsts contact with advanced civilizations ) but, that said, it is very well done.
Clear characters, albeit sometimes abit of a stretch, solid story arc and a good resolution.

This is a solid, category specific work of speculative fiction that I highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful