The Olympus Project

Gaia Book 1

Fiction - Science Fiction
432 Pages
Reviewed on 10/31/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Zoë Routh is a leadership futurist, podcaster, and multiple award-winning author. She works with leaders and teams to explore what's coming and what it means for leadership of the future.

She has worked with individuals and teams internationally and in Australia since 1987. From wild Canadian rivers to the Australian Outback, and the Boardroom jungles, Zoë is an adventurist! She facilitates strategy and culture sessions with audacious teams.

Zoë's fourth leadership book, People Stuff - Beyond Personality Problems: An advanced handbook for leadership, won the Book of the Year at the Australian Business Book Awards in 2020. Her fifth book is a near future science fiction dystopian novel, The Olympus Project.

Zoë is the producer of the Zoë Routh Leadership Podcast, dedicated to asking “What if…?” and sharing Big Ideas on the Future of Leadership.

Zoë is an outdoor adventurist and enjoys telemark skiing, has run 6 marathons, is a one-time belly-dancer, has survived cancer, and loves hiking in the high country. She is married to a gorgeous Aussie, lives in Canberra and is a self-confessed dark chocolate addict.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Olympus Project is a work of fiction in the science fiction and dystopian subgenres and forms the first installment in the Gaia series. It is best suited to mature readers and was penned by author Zoë Routh. In this opening adventure to what promises to be a clever, exciting, and well-developed series, we find ourselves in a future where humanity’s neglect of the global climate has left Planet Earth desolate and unliveable. The titular Olympus Project offers a means to colonize the moon, spearheaded by our central protagonists, the bright minds of Troy Bruin, Xavier Consus, and Xanthe Waters. But this intrepid trio is about to discover that there are those who don’t actually want salvation for the planet unless it’s under their total control.

Author Zoë Routh creates a superb dystopian setting for this thrilling novel, and one which is realized both in the cinematic aspect of the description, but also in its psychological atmosphere thanks to the sinister, tense undertones of the characters and the impending doom which they face should their mission fail. In terms of character development, I found the three personalities of the leading characters to be distinct in dialogue, approach, and attitude, which made it all the more exciting to see them put to the test in different ways and how they utilize the teamwork of their different skills to overcome the horrendous issues they face along the way. Overall, the fascinating concept and the vivid immersive qualities of The Olympus Project make it a fantastic choice for sci-fi readers everywhere and I’d highly recommend it.

Sherri Fulmer Moorer

The future doesn’t look bright when Earth is dying. Climate change and rising sea levels have devastated the planet, leaving humanity’s home a scorched rock struggling for survival. Planners are doing their best to restore the planet, but it might not be enough to spare humanity from extinction. Enter The Olympus Project – an ambitious effort to colonize the moon to give humanity a chance to either develop the resources to save the planet or serve as a backup plan if the planet fails. Three of humankind’s best and brightest lead the helm to hire and train a group to take on this endeavor. The only problem is human nature: soon the group is fighting with their own weaknesses and each other as they move through the arduous training process to launch this endeavor. Suddenly, the moon doesn’t seem far enough away to escape the politics and duplicity of competition, sabotage, jealousy, and conspiracy theories that undermine the very fabric of the reality they live in. Can the team overcome resistance within, giving this plan to save humanity a chance? Find out in The Olympus Project: Gaia Book 1 by Zoe Routh.

One thing many people don’t realize about science fiction is that it’s as much about characterization as it is about the plot and theme of the story. Zoe Routh manages a large cast of characters well as we get to know the major players throughout this novel. The multiple points of view help the reader to keep up with the story and to get a full 360-degree view of the dying Earth that they’re trying to save. I also like how she brings readers fully into the story, from the grand scale to the mundane tasks of creating a contained habitat. The Olympus Project is an excellent, well-rounded science fiction story that will keep readers intrigued from the first page to the last, and wanting more. An excellent read.

Jamie Michele

The Olympus Project by Zoë Routh is a dystopian science fiction novel set in a not unthinkably distant future where the trading of humanity's environmental capital has led to ecological bankruptcy. The ravaging of the Earth is at its apex. The climate has changed. People are literally climbing walls of flora in sweltering urban jungles to comfortably exist. A for-profit colonization plan that would ultimately see habitation on the moon is having its big moment and the bidding war is hotter than Ghadames. Serious contenders are limited only by any perception of innovation deficit, and this extends to the survival ingenuity and morality of their recruits. It's unclear which side the ethics barometer favors with the latter. The best of the best are culled from around the world to compete for a slot that could save careers, save companies and, sure, save lives and do good stuff for everyone else too. First things first, though: a tactile gauntlet that duct tapes together the worst parts of Star Trek, Survivor, and The Amazing Race must first prove everyone's mettle. To the victor go the driver coils.

The Olympus Project is the first book in Zoë Routh's Gaia series and although there are three outstanding main characters, Xanthe, Xavier, and Troy, the plot is driven by Routh's cornucopia of ancillary players that frequently have more star power than X, X & T. Bad pun regretfully intended. The story takes a few tries to really get into on account of the enormity of the cast Routh weaves into the narrative and the various degrees of space each is credited to provide their very own point of view. Some grow on you once they have transcended the uncomfortable cultural slots they've been shoved into; namely, a South Asian man hamstrung by his parents, a Muslim doctor who overtly clings to formality, a French Canadian with a phonetically written accent, and a feisty woman of color who actually says, “Damn, Gina!” The competition is exceptionally well written and it plays out like the best Halloween treat. Routh is masterful in the art of characters whose motives are easily questioned and then vindicated of them in surprising ways. There's some sizzle teasing between two prominent leads and a terrifyingly authentic feel to the plot. Corporate greed isn't new, and ego isn't new, but Routh's vision of life off Earth and what it would look like through the stages of getting there is, and I'm so grateful to be along for the ride.

Vincent Dublado

The Olympus Project, Zoë Routh’s first book in the Gaia Series is about the colonization of the moon as an alternative habitat for humanity as the world continues to deteriorate from climate change. Three of humankind’s best and brightest minds come together to spearhead the project: Troy Bruin, an architect; Xavier Consus, a horticulturist; and Xanthe Waters, a former paramedic turned community designer. They have been chosen from a pool of applicants from various design companies. The Olympus Project is a little like Disneyland, except that the outcome isn’t just joy rides - it’s also asteroid mining and research. But tensions begin to run high from the arduous task of designing a new colony outside Earth. As these three brilliant minds must set aside their differences and stick to protocols, they will also have to contend with corporations and executives with delusions of grandeur because power can separate people from what is right.

The Olympus Project is unpredictable and that reinforces its effectiveness. Another fascinating thing about Zoë Routh’s narrative is that it places faith in the intelligence of humanity, but shows how power can destroy it. In the process, Routh comes up with a tone you rarely see in this genre. It also serves as a cautionary tale about our possible future; dealing with the ramifications of colonizing the moon or even Mars instead of doing something to save and preserve our own planet. The responsibility that weighs on the shoulders of Bruin, Consus, and Waters elevates the tension when hard work not only clashes with pride but also with greed and corruption. The how-to-design-a-moon-colony element makes it exciting and this book will satisfy science fiction fans.

Asher Syed

Environmental assault is pushing the planet to the end of its tether and a project that aspires to move humans to the moon is underway in The Olympus Project by Zoë Routh, book one in the new science fiction series Gaia. The book begins with the proposition that would have companies bid for the contract to be first on the moon and one company, Gaia, doesn't just want it, it needs it. Routh has characters planted around the world with the main three being Xanthe, Troy, and Xavier, and the side-cast that consists of a variety of individuals from different cultural backgrounds and with different areas of specialty. They are in a trial by fire themselves with simulated conflict and resolution scenarios that they must solve but prove themselves as team players too. Simulation and real life are different though and things go from bad to worse when the only thing the team members have in common is that they each have their own agendas.

Zoë Routh takes traditional eco-event dystopian and science fiction and spins it into something new and fresh in The Olympus Project. Xanthe is by far my favorite character as a designer of fully self-sustaining habitation. She is the first to be introduced and the easiest to like. She does form a romantic connection with another main character but it isn't a primary focus. I'm grateful for this because I like this genre but stories tend to lean heavily into romance and that's not what eco-fiction should be about if it has a message to deliver. The simulated trials are crazy with people trying to figure out what is expected of them instead of what they would do in a real situation. After reading about how some manipulate the program and others play fairly but don't fare well, the interviews are equal parts funny and scary because the point of view of most characters are given and we know what they thought and did, but when asked questions the answers hardly align with the person they are. Good drama and dystopian sci-fi with a twist. Recommended.