Random Walk

Fractured Galaxy

Fiction - Science Fiction
258 Pages
Reviewed on 05/01/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Random Walk is a work of fiction in the science fiction and action/adventure sub-genres penned by author Rachel Lulich. The opening novel to the Fractured Galaxy series, this story balances both the wider implications and dangers of space travel with a very human story about the three people who find themselves trapped and against all odds of survival. When Derek, Jacob, and Vicky test an experimental engine and it flings them clean out of the solar system, tensions run high as they search for an impossible solution which might enable them to make it back to Earth safely someday.

Hard science fiction fans will find much to enjoy in the work of Rachel Lulich, who has clearly done a great deal of research into the real-life trials and tribulations of space travel and the mechanics of spacecrafts themselves. Alongside this atmospheric, detailed and factual depiction of a proposed space disaster, there is a magnificent display of the human spirit and human ingenuity from the author’s three central characters. Derek, Jacob, and Vicky are intricately developed, more than one would expect from a science fiction novel of this nature, and it's that commitment to emotional realism which gives the work a higher level of engagement with the reader. When this is coupled with a well-crafted plot that takes us through the beats of every moment of an imminent disaster with seemingly no hope of a solution, we find ourselves immersed in a truly complete and satisfying science fiction read. Overall, I would certainly recommend Random Walk to both hard science fiction fans and interpersonal drama enthusiasts alike.

Scott Cahan

Random Walk by Rachel Lulich is a hard science fiction novel with heart. It effectively balances scientific detail with characters that are easily relatable and likable. The story follows a three-person crew of astronauts as they attempt the first manned mission to Mars. Though the astronauts are the number one focus of the book, the crew on the ground play an equally important role. I won’t give away the plot but suffice it to say, things do not go as planned and the crew of the Pioneer finds themselves in some serious trouble. As soon as things started to go wrong, Random Walk reminded me a little of one of my favorite hard sci-fi novels, The Martian, in the way human ingenuity and teamwork become paramount to the survival of the astronauts.

Readers looking for a Star Wars type of tale filled with good guys and bad guys fighting it out with space weapons will be disappointed with Random Walk. This book’s main concern is to paint a complete picture of the astronaut’s world full of claustrophobic spaces and hi-tech equipment. Readers who enjoy an immersive experience, based on the real-life experiences of real astronauts, will find much to love with Random Walk. The “heart” that I alluded to earlier refers to the people that Ms. Lulich has created for her story. She does a good job of making them human and showing us how the harrowing plot affects them. As much as I enjoyed reading about the technical side of this ill-fated mission to Mars, it never would have worked without the rich characters that are present in Random Walk. Ms. Lulich did an excellent job of balancing the human element with the technical details. For that reason, Random Walk works extremely well and I can’t wait to see what happens in book 2.

Lois Crum

A gripping story with characters who seem like real people, both those in the space ship and those on the ground. Believable, suspenseful, fun to read, even if you usually choose historical fiction, as I do. Four stars instead of five only because it starts out slow. After a few chapters I could have put it down. But soon there was no way!

Benjamin

Pretty hard sci-fi, though the author does not make the theoretical ins and outs of the technology hard to understand. In fact, the book is pretty breezy.

A trio of astronauts try out an experimental propulsion device for the Air Force. The thing goes all haywire, and they end up very very far from home. As the astronauts try to figure out where the ship is and what they should do, Ground Control tries to do the same thing.

Because the characters are all military, they have a very do-your-duty attitude about virtually everything and it comes across as pretty authentic. It does mean the characters don't spend much time being pensive or awestruck by the situation they're in, but I don't think this book is meant to be that internal, it's all about the situation and resolving it.

Very curious how/where the next installments in this series will go.

Mary C

Lovely to get lost in this book and find myself smarter at the end

I've never read a book quite like this. Somehow the author managed to include a ton of real-world facts from different fields (I believe it would fit into the "hard sci-fi" genre) with enough explanation that one wouldn't have to look things up, but I found myself, instead of mindlessly scrolling facebook before bed, browsing wikipedia entries on subjects from "quantum entanglement" to 'what is the sh'ma?" (cultural/religious reference) to "how is pudding stored in space?"

With all the educational aspects, one might expect unrelatable characters or predictable plot drama to carry the readers attention - but no! The narrative had character development and realistic interpersonal issues without the overdone plot-devices such as obligatory romance, hidden sociopath, idiotic-person there just for plot-foil, damsel in distress, or other drama that often leaves me feeling disappointed with the state of humanity and literature/writing.
The plot took some interesting, unexpected, and exciting twists in the last 10% that accelerated quickly to an ending where I won't lose sleep over the characters... that is, unless the next book takes too long to come out!

Read this if you're looking for a refreshing sci-fi read that will provide entertainment and suspense yet also restore your faith in humanity.