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Publisher's Summary

Technology Is the Temptation

The year is 2635, the people of Earth live in a tech-free utopia. Captain Alma Johnson is one of the few permitted to use technology as part of the human fleet. In a starship that has been rebuilt more than a dozen times, she faithfully protects humanity’s holdings in the solar system overpopulated with aggressive aliens and marauding pirates. Now she finds herself on a doomed mission that she’s been set up for from the very beginning.

©2019 Kelly Curtis (P)2019 Kelly Curtis

What listeners say about The Mars One Incident

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Nice worldbuilding

First off, I found it strange that they chose a male narrator for a female character. He did a great job, don't get me wrong, but it would have been a lot better to have a female narrator.

I loved the worldbuilding. The way credits, social standing, and technology all work was done nicely and I didn't find it to be dumped much at all. It was interesting and lent a nice flavor to the plot. I loved how Alma was made captain at a young age, which led to some fun conflicts. She did an excellent job and is a strong character.

I did not love how so much of the book was about how everyone wanted Alma to settle down and have babies. It's an important part of the plot, I get it, but it didn't need to be drilled in so many times. We didn't even get to the Mars Incident until later in the book (like the last third for fourth maybe?) and we would have gotten there faster if we hadn't had to discuss why Alma was choosing her career over babies every other chapter.

The Incident brought up some interesting questions, and Alma definitely had some suspicions about the darker side of her society that I wanted to know about. But nothing was really explored because we were busy discussing babies. The action sequences seemed to be awfully short. Admittedly I listen to books while working, so I can't give them my undivided attention, but almost every battle I had to rewind because I'd missed it or couldn't believe it was over already.

I don't regret reading the book, and I did finish it, but I'm not sure I'm willing to try the second book that must surely be coming.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting World Building but Falls Short

The world building in this story is fascinating. Imagine a future where humanity has decided that personal technology is bad for you and can lead to Tech Flu, a world where your social interactions are tracked and evaluated, and a place where introverts are seen as broken and not interacting with your fellow humans can have some serious consequences.

This is the world of Captain Alma, commander of the military space cruiser Indianapolis. And poor Alma is an introvert. The only place she is truly happy is flying a space ship, or better, commanding one.

And this is the best part of this story, one that made it worth listening to the end.

But the problem I am having is that this isn't a complete story. The incident alluded to in the title should be the inciting incident for Alma's journey. And yet, it comes far too late in the book and the repercussions are resolved far too quickly and far too neatly.

Curtis is setting this up as the beginning of a series. But I really feel that this is only half a book and whatever the next book offers is probably the rest of this story.

Pirhalla was wonderful as the narrator. I was never taken out of the story, even though he is voicing a female protagonist. Although, I think he had too much Star Trek on his mind when he decided what accents to give Alma's crew. There must be a rule somewhere that says engineers have to have Scottish accents.

I was given a promotional copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.

1 person found this helpful

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Philosophical Sci-fi

This book is great. A very philosophical science fiction story. I can’t wait for the next book in the series

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I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I really liked it.
First of all, the narrator captured all the characters well. Some one told me they were put off by the male reading a female MC, but he did such a good job, that I didn't mind. He captured the innate irony of the story and the characters were distinct and animated as he read them.
The story was fun. I LOVED the worldbuilding. The characters were true to their convictions and low tech world was a place that I'd never seem before. The humorous jibes at today's technological society had me chuckling and smiling. I teased my spouse that he has tech flu! Hilarious! The MC was endearing and handled expertly. This story made me want to read more.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done!!!

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Great star, stands alone too

Despite the obvious (but brief) lead in to a sequel, this complete novel has an ending and satisfies its own plot lines.

A strong female character facing real life choices meshes well with the action-packed plot line. Conspiracies abound in this world, but they don’t overtake the plot. The potential for subtle driving forces is there, but they aren’t a focal point that is pivotal to the plot or the characters.

The narrator was well paced and well suited to the main character.

Liked it. Will likely read the next one!

I received this audiobook for free in exchange for a review.

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Life without Tech

Such a unusual take on a future world without tech. Life would definitely be a shock for most.
I enjoyed the narrator immensely. Smooth and clear.
The MC was someone i just could not connect to. But the overall story was intriguing.
This audio was given to me free and I voluntarily gave this review.

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Listening twice (not my final review)

This is not my final review. I am going through it again to get everything out of it.

Performance of narrator is really good for my taste. Will update my final review after 2nd listening.

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I recommend to this book to everyone

It was a exceptional book it showed ignorance of so many people the character in the story were very different and some the and I thought that is what made it so great I got this audiobook from audiobook boom and the narrator did a good job thx to the autor

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  • P. Kennard
  • 06-21-20

A deceptively simple story, with hidden depths

I wasn’t expecting too much of this book when I started it, and after the info-dump of concentrated world-building that was chapter one, I expected the story to settle down into a fairly traditional space opera with battles, pirates and duplicitous leaders. And there certainly were elements of all these things, but the bulk of the story is actually an exploration of questions raised by JB Priestley in ‘They Came to a City’:
The Joint Confederacy (JC), is a utopian future where everyone is able to live a content and fulfilling life, following their chosen profession without fear or favour, enjoying art and leisure, where crime is non-existent and being sociable is directly rewarded (one of the currencies in use are SCs, or 'Social Credits'). There is no poverty or hardship and society has deliberately chosen to turn it back on advanced technology, returning to a sort of post industrialised world where only the most basic mechanical items are in regular use. The question is though, would you want to live in a world like this, and even if you did, could you?
These are the questions that plague the central character, Alma Johnson, as she tries to navigate her way through difficult decisions and unexpected events.

I found myself gradually drawn in by this world and the central characters, increasingly wanting to learn just where the author was going with all of this! I found it rather refreshing that while there are a number of plot threads, the narrative stays with Alma and it is her interaction with those threads that we follow. This made for a pacier story that stayed together as a cohesive whole, without endless pieces from different jigsaws that you had to try to assemble yourself at the end.
The story isn't entirely perfect, with the number of times Alma finding herself arguing with her friends and family over her place in the JC bordering on the repetitive. I nearly got the point of saying 'she's in an unpopular guild doing unpopular things, we get it!', but there is a point to this, so such scenes are forgivable. In fact, I would struggle to point to any particular section and say it wasn't necessary.

This is the first story in a series, but unlike many first stories out there, this one is complete in and of itself, with at least some of the questions answered and a clear, if rather abrupt, ending. As a pleasant tease, we do get an epilogue that introduces Alma’s next mission, which is going to be told in the next novel.

The audiobook is an excellent performance of the story, with a skilled narrator who provides a good range of voices for all the characters. It took me a little time to used to as he does employ appropriate accents, which I found a little disconcerting at first, but as I settled into the story, I realised how well they fitted and they added to my overall enjoyment.

In the end, while there were a few flaws, this was a good story, written well, with an even better audio performance. I look forward to the next book.

I received a free copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Jonathan
  • 05-23-20

A fascinating world

I received a review copy of this book. The story presents a fascinating vision of a "utopian" space-faring society. Divided into guilds, and shunning personal technology, only the military guild make use of technology, and are seen as a necessary evil by the others because of it. This leads to interesting quirks where ship captains must outfit their ships with imported equipment and are impacted by lower social scores.

It is both well written and narrated. My only issue with the book was that that although it did not feel cut short, it was over too quickly. I very much look forward to seeing how the story progresses.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-17-20

Girl Power

Year 2635, all technology on Earth has been banned so people could now live in harmony. However Starship captains were still allowed technology. A population limit is set and couples have to receive authorization to have children. Alma Johnson has been promoted to captain and given a starship of her own. On her first mission she was ordered to destroy a pirate starship and everyone aboard. She did neither as there was no way she could kill women and children. Needless to say those in charge were not pleased that she had decided to ignore a direct order. Her next mission was against the "Terra Nova" the people who want to reintroduce tech to the world and are classed as pirates. From the get-go there was something amiss about this about this mission. Has Alma been set up to take a fall? The characters are well written and the story well narrated. A great listen for scifi fans.

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  • Norma Miles
  • 11-26-19

The lie is in the water.

Set a little over six centuries into the future, Earth survived the world wars and devestation, then, after the Trapist Wars, opted to renounce technologies to better live in harmony. With a population limit set, couples have to receive authorization to have children and, if this is granted, they are expected to have three. Only the somewhat despised distrusted traditionalists still have a belief in religion of marriage, and children, at age ten, select their probab!e future by joining the appropriate guild and the other members become their second family. Everyone is expected to be friendly , helpful and are even scored on their sociability and the majority are happy, content the technology free world
.
For some, however, lack of privacy is a problem. Alma is one such person. So, aged ten, instead of joining the singing guild her actress mother wanted, she joined the military and as the book begins she is appointed youngest ever peacetime captain on a starship whose captain and second officer have recently disappeared - either murdered by the crew of simply joined the many pirates was not known.
But the appointment comes with strings ...

An intriguing future utopian concept is well presented in aspects both good and bad and, placed against the societal expectations, the reality of the military life and the pressures to maintain their peaceful life is brought fully to the reader. Good story, well characterised, with a fully believable main protagonist. Narration is by John Pirhalla, reading with clarity, good pacing and full understanding of the text. His voicing s of the characters was also good. He does, indeed, become the talking book, with no distractions to prevent the reader simply sliding into the story.

My thanks to the rights holder of The Mars One Incident who, at my request, freely gifted me with a complimentary copy. The cover is beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Indeed, I was so involved it was a surprise when, suddenly, the book was over. I fully look forward to the next in the Alma Johnson story and recommend this book wholeheartedly to all who enjoy space opera and futuristic S.F.

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  • Andy
  • 11-19-19

Entertaining space opera

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is an entertaining space opera set a long way in the future, when humanity has established itself in various parts of the Solar System, including Mars and Titan, and trades with alien races. Technology has been eliminated for personal use, with the aim of improving people's quality of life.

Captain Alma Johnson is the youngest person ever to be a Captain. However the missions she is sent on - against the "Terra Nova" who want to reintroduce tech - seem set up for her to fail.

The story presents an interesting view of the future. The book blurb describes it as a "utopia", but many would disagree with that. People's lives are controlled through "social credit". Unlike today's experiments with social credit, fed by tracking data from social media and the web, this version (without tech) is fuelled by people snitching on their fellow citizens, a-la Orwell's 1984. If you run out of credit, it's off to the (equivalent of) prison for you. If you earn enough, you might perhaps be given permission to procreate.

Captain Johnson is an excellent character, and her family, partner and crew members are drawn with varying degrees of detail. I sometimes felt like I was in an extended episode of Star Trek, but that is not meant as a criticism. The plot is entertaining and fast-moving as Alma and her crew travel between Earth, Titan and Mars.

The audiobook was well read by John Pirhalla, but I was surprised it was quite short at only six hours long.