The Mars One Incident

Fiction - Science Fiction
200 Pages
Reviewed on 10/11/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Mars One Incident is a work of science fiction with intrigue and thriller elements and was penned by author Kelly Curtis. Written for mature audiences due to some nonexplicit adult content, this otherworldly adventure takes us to the twenty-seventh century, in which utopia is now viewed as a place free from technology and its many temptations. Captain Alma Johnson is allowed to use some of these technological elements to protect the human race from the threat of invaders, but at the Mars One Station, she learns of a coup that could change everything that the people of Earth have come to know and trust. The trouble is, Alma doesn’t know if she wants to protect them from it, or encourage them towards it.

Due to her imminent promotion and technology-related job, we meet Alma as an outsider with the whole world against her from day one. The life she leads is exciting, in a world of space pirates and revolutionaries where she and the good ship Indianapolis endeavor to keep the peace. Author Kelly Curtis endears us to this world instantly with close narration that lets us into Alma’s mindset and immersive description that paints the incredible world beyond the tech-free utopia in vivid colors. Alma’s dilemma is well drawn too, with clear conceptual ideas on both sides of the argument that give readers good food for thought and plenty of thrills and suspense. Overall, The Mars One Incident delivers a well thought out conceptual tale with a satisfying conclusion, from an author who shows much promise for future science fiction works.

Caitlin Lyle Farley

Lieutenant Alma Johnson is being used. She doesn't know by whom, or why, but when Admiral Shana of the Atlanta Chapter of the Military Guild promotes her to captain of the starship Indianapolis in a move that makes her the youngest peacetime captain, Alma accepts despite the warning signs. The appointment doesn't go unchallenged within the guild, but Alma and the admiral persevere. Alma faces her first challenge when the admiral gives her the first orders: proceed to Titan station, find the pirate ship Dante, and destroy it. The destruction of starships is rare, every form of technology being valuable in a world where it’s strictly regulated and controlled by the Joint Confederacy. Alma accepts her orders despite these irregularities; the command of her own starship is a prize she cannot resist.

The Mars One Incident is a thoroughly immersive science fiction novel. Kelly Curtis places humankind squarely at the bottom of the galaxy's complex social and political spheres and, for the most part, they are pleased to stay there. Human culture rejects the use of personal technology, presenting a unique facet to their spacefaring and the way the rest of the populace views members of the military who are in constant contact with technology in their line of work. Fast pacing, an entertaining, intriguing plot, and a remarkable ability on Curtis's part to convey even complex world-building concepts and characterization make for an engrossing page-turner. Curtis's unique depiction of spacefaring humans, skilled writing, and plot execution make The Mars One Incident a stand out novel in the science fiction genre.

Christian Sia

The Mars One Incident by Kelly Curtis is a spellbinding science fiction story with a powerful premise; a novel that reflects great imagination. The story is set in 2635, just after the Great Leap Backwards with the foundation of the Joint Confederacy (JC) that has stripped Earth of technology, even that which is required by humans for their daily life. The plot follows Captain Alma Hattie Johnson, one of those allowed to use technology with a few others in the military, who undertakes a very dangerous mission, protecting the holdings of humanity in the solar system. The environment in space is overpopulated and infested with marauding pirates and ruthless aliens. Alma investigates a strange ship on Mars One Station and makes a startling discovery—Earth is threatened by a formidable foe, and she has just minutes left to stop the threat. Can she make that choice?

While technology has been one of the greatest achievements of humanity, it has also been at the heart of some of the greatest factors that have led to human alienation. Kelly Curtis imagines a world without technology and demonstrates in this writing that Earth can be more peaceful without the sophistication of modern technology. The writing is fluid and filled with powerful descriptions. I enjoyed the use of contrast and how it stays at the heart of the conflict. The reader is introduced to a tech-free world that is the complete opposite of what is happening in space. The conflict is about keeping Earth the way it has been after Joint Confederacy. The action is strong and the drama intense. The pacing is fast, and the author creates vivid imagery, allowing readers to imagine places and elements of the setting. I enjoyed the crisp writing, the imaginative characters in the story and the realism infused into it. The Mars One Incident is a breezy read and a wonderful novel for fans of science fiction.

Grant Leishman

In The Mars One Incident, author Kelly Curtis takes us to earth in the distant future, 2635. Humanity had made the decision some time ago that technology was creating the angst and conflict in the war and it was decided to ditch all technology and cap the earth’s population at 13 billion people. Most people on earth, in their blissful state, have no idea what those charged with protecting them are sometimes required to do. One of earth’s Guilds, responsible for keeping earth safe from aliens and ensuring that rebels determined to reintroduce technology do not succeed, is paradoxically allowed to use and embrace technology, albeit sometimes scavenged technology from other planets and systems. Captain Alma Johnson is the youngest person, at 26, to ever be appointed to a Starfleet command and is determined to prove her worth to all those who doubt her capabilities. She is sent out on a mission to track down one of the rebel ships believed to be trying to bring technology to earth but she is not totally aware of all the backroom politics that may be taking place on this utopian non-technological earth.

The Mars One Incident is a fairly straightforward science fiction story that predicates an interesting proposition – that the use of technology is responsible for all of humanity’s woes and that by eliminating it we could reach a utopian state. Author Kelly Curtis has realized that to eliminate all technology would potentially be disastrous should there be internal dissension or, indeed, external threat. The paradox of using technology to ensure there was no technology was not lost on me. I was impressed with the character the author has created in Alma Johnson. She is strong-willed, intelligent, and driven but it soon becomes very apparent that she also has a conscience and indeed an empathy for those who wish to bring technology back. I particularly enjoyed the way the author highlighted her frustration at being almost an “outcast” in a society that she was risking her life to protect. It makes you wonder if perhaps even today’s policemen have similar feelings. I noted that this is a debut novel for Curtis and also the beginning of a series featuring Alma Johnson and her crew. Curtis has laid the groundwork with her interesting premise and first novel so I look forward to upcoming sequels, and perhaps a romance with Alma's first officer might be on the cards.

Samantha Gregory

The Mars One Incident by Kelly Curtis tells the story of a future version of Earth, where technology is no longer used, except by a select few. Alma is one of these few, protecting humans from the dangers outside Earth. Alma is an interesting character with a role to play but there are things going on beneath the surface that could change things. The story is well written without going too much into detail about the science behind it all. There is quite a bit of dialogue, but it is believable and moves the story forward. I did find the story interesting and wanted to see what happened next, which kept me reading. The story isn't overly long, so it is good as a quick read for someone who doesn't want to get into a longer book.

Kelly Curtis has written an interesting and thought-provoking story in The Mars One Incident. The main character is flawed and faces some really hard choices where there really isn't a clear winner or loser. I think this makes it more believable. Life isn't black and white and it is never as simple as good vs evil. When she discovers what is going to happen, she is torn. How do you fight against something when you kind of agree with it? And do you make the selfish or unselfish choice? I think The Mars One Incident by Kelly Curtis would do well with science fiction fans and possibly as a thriller sci-fi too. I would recommend it.