In Jeff Carlson’s ebook novella, The Frozen Sky (available on Kindle), he takes on the genre of hard science fiction, taking readers to that distant moon of Jupiter, Europa, where there are frozen seas and oceans, but beneath the possibility of alien life.
Carlson uses a great storytelling method of short chapters and jumping back and forth. In the present our main character is dealing with the alien life that exists beneath the ice, trying her best to stay alive using her futuristic spacesuit that works practically as a fully-servicing vehicle along with the downloaded knowledge and abilities of her dead colleague. Carlson throws in the details here and there of great scifi tech without bogging the story down or confusing the reader. In alternate chapters, the reader is taken back to different periods in time, when the main characters first set foot on Europa, what they hoped to find and what they actually found, which were very different things.
In less than sixty pages, Carlson skillfully manages to tell a great story, present some possible ancestry to these alien creatures, put in a bunch of cool technology that makes sense and is believable. To top it all off, he manages to send the message of when we do finally start traveling to the stars, we better be sure we’re fully prepared for everything we might come up against, and that maybe we should look and think before we leap into that mysterious hole in the ground on an alien planet.
Originally written on April 10, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.