17 Planets

The Captain

Fiction - Science Fiction
385 Pages
Reviewed on 06/20/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A. R. Alexander was born in Acqui Terme, a small town in Piedmont, Italy. The youngest of three children, at the age of 15 she experiences the tragic death of her older brother, Massimo, from whom she used to secretly steal science fiction books at a time when science fiction was predominantly a male domain genre.
With considerable delay compared to her peers (she learned very late that she had
dyslexia), she graduated in Psychology at the University of Turin with a thesis on breast cancer.
For a few years she worked as a researcher for Lega Tumori first in Alessandria and then in Genoa, where she moved with her husband and three children. She founded an association that dealt with issues of parenting and motherhood.
In 2015 she decided to move to England with her family, abandoning the profession and dedicating herself to writing her first novel 17 Planets - The Captain which was published in 2021 in Italian by a small publisher not specialized in science fiction.

    Book Review

Reviewed by David Korson for Readers' Favorite

The epic science fiction novel 17 Planets: The Captain by A. R. Alexander incorporates dystopian politics, intergalactic adventure, military action, and a medley of other literary elements to create a futuristic saga with extraordinary depth. A revolutionary new technology, the Ajna, offers humanity something it has sought for millennia; freedom from ill health and disease. However, one of the ruling factions has found a way to use this technological panacea to subjugate humankind. Captain Elizabeth Lee, a strong, intelligent, and enigmatic woman, takes on a pivotal role in stopping this threat to freedom within the universe. But with seventeen planets, four competing political powers, and innumerable people with a wide array of differing motivations to navigate, even a woman as dangerous and calculating as Lee will have her hands full to take on the Kappa Corporation and their plans for universal domination.

The level of complexity that A. R. Alexander has put into this book can’t be overstated. Don’t expect a casual read when you pick up 17 Planets: The Captain; expect instead to give your full mental energy and be rewarded with total immersion in highly developed worlds, intriguing plots, and countless characters that are both realistic and nuanced. The novel’s appropriate pacing eased me gradually into the intricacies of the story, introducing characters and locations in metered doses and thoroughly describing settings and technologies so that I was not only able to follow the narrative but become fully engrossed in it. An ambitious novel that highlights many elevated themes, it raises the standard for interstellar sci-fi.

Alma Boucher

A.R. Alexander's 17 Planets: The Captain is an outstanding sci-fi novel. Edward Cohen and his team were sent to Echuazi to investigate a carefully concealed building. Some powerful people did not like Cohen because of his honesty and because he could not be manipulated. Some powerful people wanted Cohen out of the way, and so he was lured to the warehouse. Elizabeth and her team were going to Echuazi to rescue Cohen and his group. Elizabeth was an exception in many ways and she did not have an Ajna, which had been created to protect and save people and improve their lives. The Ajna is located between the eyebrows and is unique to every individual. Cohen is an important piece in the puzzle, and the rescue can have a positive outcome.

A.R. Alexander's 17 Planets was intriguing and exciting. It was a roller coaster ride of action and politics. The story was fast-paced and jam-packed with action. I could not turn the pages fast enough, and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. Some of the drawings gave a clear picture of the environment and made it easier to visualize the surroundings. The themes of power, value, freedom, trust, and justice were woven into the story and added to its success. The characters were realistic and relatable. The growing relationship between Cohen and Elizabeth was interesting. Both were strong personalities with unique characteristics. The story was well-researched and exciting to read.

K.C. Finn

Penned by author A. R. Alexander, 17 Planets: The Captain is a work of fiction in the science fiction, interpersonal drama, and sociocultural subgenres, and forms the first novel in a continuing series. The work is best suited to the general adult reading audience owing to some instances of explicit language and sexual references. In this engrossing tale with plenty of dark secrets and intense action to uncover, we are introduced to an ensemble cast in a world where a system of seventeen planets sees the original inhabitants of Planet Earth spread amongst different factions and worlds. Elizabeth stands at the center of it all, with unique gifts that could change the course of the future.

Author A. R. Alexander has produced an original and highly cerebral novel that takes the idea of a space opera and casts a much wider net over the subgenre to fully explore concepts like politics, philosophy, society, and what it truly means to be human. One of the features that I most enjoyed about this novel was its unique narrative style, in which the author offers a detailed but also open story that has readers filling in the gaps and coming to conclusions for themselves about the attitude of some of the characters and the decisions they make. This develops into a deeply interactive story and often had me wondering what I’d do in the same situation. Overall, 17 Planets: The Captain is a highly recommended read for science fiction fans looking for something new that really digs into human psychology and mirrors the future back to our own time to teach valuable lessons.

Parul Sood

A.R. Alexander's 17 Planets: The Captain is a science fiction saga that catapults readers into a distant future where humanity has colonized seventeen planets across three star systems. The novel intricately explores the complex relationships between these planets, their leaders, and the advanced technologies that shape their existence. The story begins with General-in-chief Adyfin summoning General Ed Cohen to take on an urgent mission on the neighboring planet, Echuazi. General Cohen is captured and tortured as he embarks on this mission to gather information about possible rebel activity. However, after learning about this failed mission, mysterious Captain Lee from Alpha One rescues him and reveals a sinister plot that might dismantle the intricate balance among the 17 planets.

From the opening pages of 17 Planets: The Captain, A.R. Alexander wastes no time in immersing readers in a world brimming with political intrigue and shifting alliances. The story unfolds briskly, skillfully blending gripping action sequences with nuanced character development. The entrance of Captain Elizabeth Lee injects a captivating element, defying stereotypes and challenging expectations. Captain Lee emerges as a formidable female protagonist, exuding fearlessness and strong leadership qualities while grappling with her emotional burdens. General Edward Cohen complements her as a skeptical soldier, dutiful but unafraid to question orders. The evolving dynamic between these two central characters serves as a compelling narrative thread. The author adeptly tackles themes of sexism, highlighting the prejudice and underestimation that Captain Lee faces due to her gender. The inclusion of abstract sketches at the start of chapters and visual depictions of star systems enhance the immersive quality of the narrative. Alexander's meticulous world-building and intricate plot make for an enthralling reading experience.

Doreen Chombu

In the thirty-third century, scientists and historians left Earth to establish a community in outer space. They settled among a group of systems and created habitable bubbles close to each other for easier communication and traveling. They also developed advanced technology and formed governments and military teams. Unfortunately, humans did not change, and over time, they became greedy, seeking power and segregating people based on class and wealth. A group of corrupt individuals wanting control over the people, the resources, and the military might rise and use sinister tactics to take over. Fortunately, their plans are constantly hindered by a rebel called Captain Lee. The infamous captain is a woman named Elizabeth, and her enemies fear her with no knowledge of her identity, while her allies admire her but do not know her motives. Is Elizabeth fighting for a righteous cause, or is this all a personal vendetta? Get a copy of 17 Planets: The Captain by A. R. Alexander.

From the detailed backstory to the action and political drama, I loved everything about this book. This is the first installment in the series, and it will introduce you to a cast of intelligent and strategic characters. I applaud A. R. Alexander for writing an amazing and unique story and Maria Harsford for flawlessly translating the book from Italian to English. The book also contains drawings by Ivano A. Antonazzo that helped me visualize the planets, the systems, and the government structures. The book has many points of view, but Elizabeth is the main character. She was a formidable warrior with an alluring body and presence. The reader learns her identity, motives, and goals through flashbacks and monologues. At the beginning of the book, Elizabeth is focused on her work, but gradually she starts to feel and become less cold. I loved seeing her emotional growth and willingness to work with others and share her past. The story has a good flow. Each chapter connected perfectly to the next, and the political banter was intense and made the story suspenseful. I recommend 17 Planets: The Captain to anyone who loves futuristic science fiction with a dash of sexual, military, and political drama.