Double Dragon eBooks / 316 pages / (March 22, 2011)
From the first paragraph, it is obvious that Mothership is a novel intended to be enjoyed by young adults on through the no-longer young variety. In the strange reasoning of American media, violence is acceptable for budding, impressionable minds, but physical expressions of love are not. So, put those fears aside, while some characters may get blown away, none shall get…well, you know what I mean. In fact, most of the violence in Mothership takes place tastefully off-screen, bringing it right down to a PG rating.
The end has come for the Earth and for all humanity. The T’kaan, a single-minded race that seeks only to wipe out other species wherever they find them, has come for the final battle. But, not every human being is killed; an intelligent and unstoppable starship has become Mother to the last three orphan children of humanity.
Now, the question is whether a sentient ship can truly perform all the duties of a mother to her charges. And preserve the storehouse of knowledge of humanity. And fight off the recovering T’kaan fleet. And understand exactly where she falls in the area between human and machine. Nothing a multi-tasking super ship shouldn’t be able to handle.
Mothership is an interesting read. The story is involving and raises some questions about the true definition of life and sentience. Oddly, the most involving character in the book is the Mothership. The three human children never evolve beyond stock characters in a young adult romance novel and it is difficult to develop genuine interest in the trio or care about their concerns.
A chance for a fascinating insight slipped by when Chandler chose not to delve into the minds and society of the T’kaan. Rather than another faceless, unfathomable enemy, readers could have had a glimpse at what drove such a race into seemingly ruthless, all-consuming killing. But, this novel is not really about the T’kaan, but about the Mothership, and for all her computing power, she understands the enemy no better at the end of the book than at the beginning, so why should the reader?
Mothership is Chandler’s first novel and it is obvious that he has a flair for storytelling that future books will exhibit nicely. When he concentrates on a character, as he did with Mothership, he produces a fascinating personality that can easily carry an entire novel. His command of action sequences is impressive, especially in an aspect that comes with great difficulty to many writers.
One thing: more aggressive surgery by an editor would be a huge improvement. This is yet another small press project that seems to have received the spell-check-only treatment, when it needed and merited more.
Ready to race around the universe? Pick up a copy of Mothership and get set for a journey and a battle that will take you places you never dreamed existed. Buy it for yourself or for your teenager, or do something truly radical: both of you read the same thing for a change.