A Gigantic Leap

First Contact

Fiction - Science Fiction
457 Pages
Reviewed on 04/07/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

As a NASA engineer, David Brown designed the landing gear on the Apollo Lunar Landing Module for America's first mission to the Moon.

An author of several books on investing, and Founder of Sabrient Systems, David serves on the Director's Council at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

David served both as Chairman of the U.S. Science and Technology Commission, and Chairman of the New Millennium Committee of the Planetary Society. An avid Avian enthusiast, his garden is filled with over two dozen bird feeders, each dedicated to a specific species, that brings him joy every time he looks out his window.

David was inspired to write the novel by his friend and mentor, Carl Sagan. He was troubled by the violence of our civilization and worried about what advanced beings on other planets might think, in the future, of our brutality and destructive nature.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

A Gigantic Leap: First Contact by David Brown is a wide-ranging work that incorporates science fiction, social issues, and suspense. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. In this thought-provoking and moving tale about interplanetary cooperation and the search for peace, we discover that achieving the human race’s noble ideals might just be too tall an order, even when the fate of their world is at stake. Given the chance to eradicate violence and seek harmony with the universe, the darker side of human nature kicks in, and soon it’s down to a few unlikely heroes to save humanity from itself.

David Brown has taken the intergalactic invasion tropes of discovering other societies out there in the cosmos and done something truly inventive with them that I’ve never seen in a work of science fiction before. From the outset, this work of sci-fi, dystopia, and high drama keeps a laser-sharp focus on morality, ethics, and justice, and the poignancy of these topics makes it a highly relatable and credible read. I also felt that the plot construction was well-paced to deliver a slow-burning psychological development that maintained suspense and kept us guessing as to the inevitable disasters that we seemed to be headed toward, no matter what the heroes attempted to do. From this point of view, the conclusion of the tale was perfectly apt and a talking point that readers will want to discuss for quite some time after setting the work down. I would certainly recommend A Gigantic Leap for fans of intelligent, emotive, and well-considered science fiction everywhere.

Vincent Dublado

In A Gigantic Leap: First Contact by David Brown, humanity is offered an opportunity to join the Galactic Federation of peaceful planets and access their advanced technology and knowledge. However, there's a catch. The Federation demands that humans renounce violence and embrace peace to join them. If humanity fails to meet this demand, they will be quarantined or even eradicated to prevent their violent ways from spreading. Make no mistake about it; the Galactic Federation is serious about their offer. The question now depends on whether or not human beings can let go of their base instincts. The story follows a group of unlikely heroes who must save humanity from the catastrophic consequences of their violent ways before it's too late. This is an engaging and thought-provoking story that explores humanity's relationship with violence and the consequences of our actions.

David Brown has created a vivid and imaginative world filled with fascinating alien species and advanced technology. The characters' individual struggles and motivations are relatable, making them easy to root for. The novel's exploration of humanity's violent tendencies is particularly intriguing. It forces the reader to confront uncomfortable truths about our society and the impact of our actions on the world around us. The novel presents a compelling argument for peace and the benefits of non-violent conflict resolution. A Gigantic Leap: First Contact is excellent science fiction that will appeal to fans of the genre. It's a well-written and thought-provoking story that explores complex themes in an engaging way. The characters are relatable and the world-building is three-dimensional, making it enjoyable from start to finish. Highly recommended.

Jamie Michele

David Brown delivers an uncommon ultimatum in the speculative science fiction novel A Gigantic Leap: First Contact. The gigantic leap is unceremoniously heaped onto Stephen Hopkins, the son of a mega-church televangelist who has opted out of his father's work converting the convertible, and rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, and embarked on his own journey of consciousness to save people in a different way. Stephen's humanitarian efforts catch the attention of an alien collective who are incomprehensibly advanced and see no positive future for Earth and humans, who are violent and whose self-destructive way of life runs counter to the peace the Galactic Federation has achieved. Their answer to the problem is to destroy Earth and everything on it. One group within the Federation, led by an avian race alien called Chairman Morok, believes all is not lost on Earth and a deal is struck to give humans a last chance to right their wrongs.

In A Gigantic Leap, David Brown shows readers a scenario where humans are not the greatest danger to themselves, but we are the second, and the reason why aliens, who are the first, would want to wipe humans out before we get any worse. As someone who is a regular contributor to Survival International, there was no way I was able to turn away from the ultimate survival story, and one that involves aliens to boot. Brown's pacing is fast and so the story does not have a saggy middle. The progression of convincing world leaders to stand down and disarm happens at an even pace and I appreciated it because this alone could have easily gone straight into Star Wars trade dispute boringness. Brown strikes a balance and Stephen is likable, Gorr is immensely unlikable, and the concept of applicants preparing for the Sojourn was cool. Realism sets in with scenes that describe people committing suicide out of fear and situations that reflect the inability to accept that humans are at the bottom of the food chain. Entertaining, thoughtful, and very highly recommended.

Stephanie Chapman

A Gigantic Leap: First Contact by David Brown comprises two major parts. The first features Stephen Hopkins being abducted by an advanced alien council. The Galactic Federation was disgusted by the amount of violence Namuh spread across Earth and the council voted for the extermination of Namuh. When Stephen relates his story to his family, only his paraplegic son Gerard believes him. The second section depicts Stephen's attempt to implement a strategic plan devised by Morok, the chairman of the Galactic Federation. A sojourn offer allowed volunteers to live in Yxria for 20 years. The volunteers would then return to apply what they learned to ensure world peace. However, there was fierce opposition that covertly undermined the proposal. The removal could not be stopped unless there were noticeable changes.

David Brown is straightforward in addressing the excessive violence prevailing in society. Using Morok, an avian alien, to communicate with Stephen Hopkins was unique. The thoughts of Stephen, his son, his wife, and many other characters were vividly described. What would it take to achieve world peace? Socialism and capitalism were addressed with a focus on poverty. The transition between each perspective was seamless. I found Gerard to be the most inspiring character. Despite his disability, he didn’t allow it to hold him back. A gunshot had caused his paralysis, but he didn’t wallow in self-pity. The story was unpredictable, and the actions of everyone were realistically portrayed. I found the word Namuh funny because the aliens had inadvertently reversed the letters for humans. I would recommend A Giant Leap to those who enjoy reading about social issues and how to tackle them through the eyes of a diverse group of characters.

Asher Syed

A Gigantic Leap: First Contact by David Brown is a science fiction novel that revolves around the first known meeting between humans and an advanced alien species. Stephen, an activist for indigenous communities deemed dangerously primitive and largely out of contact with the modern world, is losing time to memory loss and a series of disturbing dreams. His work in exposing land and cultural exploitation at the hands of massive privateering and a complicit government leads him to believe both are behind the occurrences. Off Earth, similar activism is also being pursued by an alien named Chairman Morok, who is championing the survival of the human race despite their also being deemed dangerous, primitive, and far, far behind the modern universe. When the Galactic Federation agrees to hold off on the annihilation of humanity, there is a catch: Earth must assimilate to a state of complete and global peace.

“In order for the volunteers to return with GFED’s advanced technologies and knowledge, those remaining on Earth must lay the peaceful foundation on which the returning sojourners could build a new future.” A Gigantic Leap by David Brown explores what the world might look like to advanced alien civilizations and is able to contextualize the point of view through the lens of how we look to 'uncontacted peoples' on Earth as barbaric. The brilliance of this and the irony of demanding peace on the threat of extermination is not only thought-provoking but reflective of how countries force themselves onto each other to extract similar promises of diplomacy when, in reality, there is no such thing anywhere on the planet. Brown homes in on social issues as the basis of violence which, for anyone who has participated in any degree of activism, knows to be a fact. Poverty, in order to control and hold power, is not revolutionary but the idea that aliens are the only things that can pull us out of it is. The writing is clean and the ideas are highly philosophical, the world-building is extremely well done and, despite the novel ending on something of a cliffhanger, it is overall a novel that makes the decision to read whatever follows it a sure thing. In short: I'm in. Bring on the beginning of utopia.