Not only does Omega Sol by Scott Mackay seem to have virtually the same premise as his previous book, Phytosphere, with inscrutable aliens threatening earth with mysterious technology unless some scientists can figure out how to communicate with the aliens, but it’s an uninspiring premise at best. Remember those alien invasion movies in which the stereotypical egghead insists that the aliens must be benevolent because they have advanced technology, even as they’re wreaking havoc everywhere. That’s Omega Sol in a nutshell, told from the scientist point of view. Except that there isn’t much actual science in Omega Sol.
Though Omega Sol supposedly takes place in the 22nd century, it seems to be more like the 1950’s with a militaristic administration and a Cold War with a very stereotypical Communist China that reads like the author had stopped paying attention to what was going on in Asia at around 1955. The government goons of the 22nd century use such advanced interrogation techniques as LSD and their big final threat to the aliens is a nuclear bomb. There are bits and pieces of more advanced technology, but they’re more like magic than technology because the author never gets around to explaining how they’re supposed to work.
The main character of Omega Sol, a fellow named Dr. Cameron Conrad, has been chosen by the aliens as the most brilliant mathematician on earth to receive their contact information. Unfortunately the military and other scientists keep refusing to see how wonderful the aliens are. When the aliens begin taking over the moon, kill hundreds of thousands of people on earth and start draining hydrogen from the sun turning it into a Red Giant, the militarists naturally have even more trouble seeing their amazing benevolence, the way Dr. Cameron Conrad does.
The good news is that Dr. Cameron Conrad turns out to be right about everything. The military turns out to be completely wrong. Millions of people die, but it’s all right in the end because there’s a “fecund egg of an idea” somewhere in Dr. Conrad’s brain. Yes that’s a quote from the book. Also he finally gets together with his hot blond “beach girl” co-worker Lesha, who is naturally so deeply in love with a middle aged scientist that she goes to the moon to be with him. A plot idea that’s not at all a middle aged man’s fantasy. Perish the thought.
Scott Mackay’s writing in Omega Sol isn’t bad, but it varies wildly, going from a great opening to chapters that suffer from tense confusion and just plain rambling. Dr. Conrad or Cam, spends a lot of the novel having strokes, and there are something like a dozen chapters dedicated to his evil militaristic nemesis Colonel Pittman wandering around and dying of radiation poisoning, just in time to realize the error of his ways in not having listened to Dr. Conrad and finally shooting himself. A capable editor might have decided that the novel could do without all that, and might actually dedicate some of that time to explaining some of the amazing new physics that the aliens give Dr. Conrad, or write an ending that doesn’t involve the entire galaxy but earth, become effectively uninhabitable to the human race.
If you’re interested in characters that don’t read like cliches from the 1950’s and situations that are a little more well thought out than The Day the Earth Stood Still taking place on the moon, Omega Sol is not the book for you. On the other hand if you’re in the market for a book about a saintly Scientist who experiences religious visions of science from aliens who have come to test mankind, and his hot blonde beach girl love interest, Omega Sol is the book for you.