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THE VISITOR - hard, near-future science fiction for the reader who likes realism.
Specialist astronaut Evelyn Slater encounters a small, badly damaged, ancient, alien artefact (British spelling) on the first ever space-junk elimination mission. Where was it from? Who sent it?
The object is recovered and a laboratory built in orbit to study it. Scientists are staggered at the artefact's age and the materials from which it has been constructed, but the damage, caused in antiquity, means the purpose of the device and its origin may never be understood.
Evelyn returns to Earth and, with her having a degree in psychology coupled with her astronaut training, she is given the opportunity to coordinate the ongoing research.
However, international governments have imposed a security clampdown, but as more is learned of the aliens' technology, secrecy becomes impossible to maintain.
Then, something even more unexpected occurs in Mars orbit and the whole affair is blown wide open.
Realistic, near-future 'what if?' story.
Author's note: This book, necessarily, deals with trying to defuse xenophobia. Because of this, some reviewers attack me as an author owing to the inclusion of some political correctness, some socialist arguments and because it includes an atheist character. All of these attributes are necessary to the story. Such abuse is strange for science fiction readers who are supposed to embrace 'different' points of view and scenarios. I wonder if the same people would abuse Orwell for promoting totalitarianism because he wrote 1984. I provide this note so that the narrow-minded know not to buy it! If you are still unsure, read the reviews.
UK KINDLE BESTSELLER IN THREE CATEGORIES - FIRST CONTACT, HARD & HIGH TECH SCIENCE FICTION
Review from AmazonCom: 5.0 out of 5 stars Passes litmus test of good science fiction
The future may contain unlimited possibilities. The Visitor creates a solid scientific foundation of bringing us to the future, along with our baggage and how that effects the future. The litmus test for good science fiction for me is whether I am drawn into the story as if I was experiencing it first hand. Tony Harmsworth easily passed the test. I was drawn into the story early on and slowed my reading so that I could savor it for as long as possible. At first I was put off by negative reviews but upon further analysis, I figured the story could also be like a Rorschach test- comments may be seen as a projection of one's mind. I am glad I did not rely on negative reviews as I would have missed a good experience.
Review from AmazonCoUk: 5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story
This book, like Tony's others are easy to read and are not brutal. There aren't too many characters to keep track of and yet the plot is thick and solid. I love reading the books and I am presently reading another by the same author. I don't think that some of the other critics have been all together fair in their reviews. Yes, here is a bit of Wyndham here but it makes a pleasant change from the formulaic running, jumping and shooting books in this genre. This is more for the thinking person than the adrenaline junkie.
Review from AmazonCom: 5.0 out of 5 stars An outstandung first contact novel!
Undoubtedly one of the best first contact novels I've ever read! This was the first novel bu Tony Harmsworth that I've read, but it definitely won't be the last. From the accidental discovery of an alien artifact [US spelling] in Earth orbit, through its recovery, analysis and what follows, this book looks at first contact from an entirely new perspective. Read it. You definitely won't be disappointed!
Review from AmazonCom: 5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book very highly.
This is unquestionably the finest first contact novel I have ever read. All of the activity that takes place in outer space is realistic, well-informed yet easygoing. It is a completely plausible milieu and this adds considerably to the gravitas and integrity of the plot and its theme. The whole first contact scenario is depicted in a fresh, innovative way. Well, by this I mean the technological side of the process of discovery and analysis of the object; and also the nature, integrity and motivations of several pivotal characters. The behavior of other characters, of course, is sadly predictable, because this cannot be changed in any story one expects people to actually believe. But the way that conflict plays out is enormously satisfying to me. I recommend this book very highly.
Review from AmazonCoUk: 1.0 out of 5 stars A terrific insight into the mind of a self-hating human
The book starts off as a great read. Near term history, plausible science building an entertaining plot. It soon devolves into an essay of self hatred and trashing of civilization as a whole. A perfect expression of hatred for Capatalism, all religions, the entire human race and the United States in particular. If the silly Leftist politics and the desire for the destruction of Humanty had been ommiited it could have been a great short story.
Review from AmazonCom: 5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
It's rare I leave reviews because I find it difficult without giving the story away. To say that "The Visitor" is on a par with Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" is no exaggeration. The Visitor illustrates the difficulties the close minded create for the rest of mankind.
Review from AmazonCom: 1.0 out of 5 stars A woke communists' wet dream!
Started okay, but quickly dissolved into leftist, anti-christian, anti-capitalism, anti-US, anti-human, climate-change nonsense. Team members are castigated for calling a f-ing ugly alien "ugly". Totally woke from beginning to end. The author doesn't seem to realise that socialism never works, ever, anywhere. Don't waste your money.
Review from AmazonCoUk: 5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing and thought-provoking read
I've not read a lot of first contact books, but I found this one to be compelling and certainly thought-provoking. Quite apart from the scientific side of the book, which seems well-researched and logically consistent, it acts as a stark mirror to show all that is wrong with humanity. It explores the idea (which I have long suspected) that humanity's technological prowess has far outgrown our emotional maturity, often with devastating effects. I found this a well-written book that drew me in and kept me wanting to read on, not knowing where it was going to end. It is set in the near-future, and there are nice little touches that made it seem quite realistic (like Scotland no longer being part of the UK, and the UK not being part of the EU after Brexit, although efforts were being made to rejoin). The characters are well-developed, but for me, this book was more of a social commentary on our society and how things could be done differently. The ending is entirely consistent with the rest of the book, and a satisfying one at that. More than anything, this book can be taken as a prompt for those in power to take a long hard look at themselves and ask why there is so much distrust, fear and hatred. But, precisely because those in power don't seem to have the capacity for self-reflection, this book will speak most loudly to those who, like me, who have long suspected that humanity, on the whole, is a flawed species, and is also still very primitive in so many ways.
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