Space Ramblings

Omega Sol by Scott Mackay book review

Omega Sol by Scott MackayNot 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.

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  • Terrahawk July 20, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    I read a script a few years ago which had aliens come to earth to test humanity. The gist was that if humanity passed the test they were worthy of all of this great technology. If they failed, well, that was it for humanity. The test ended up being these creatures that ran around killing people and an infection that would make all women sterile. I can’t remember exactly how they solved it but do remember that the writer had religious people getting wiped out by the score. Anyways, humanity eradicates the disease and the beasties. Thus they are worthy of the technology. Everyone is cheering for the wonderful aliens at the end. The moral denseness of the author was amazing.

    You book review sounds eerily similar.

  • O_Deus July 21, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Unfortunately it’s one of those Science Fiction cliches that never goes way, because it just swaps out god with aliens, and armageddon with alien armageddon. It does show up in scripts more than in books, because SF writers tend to be a little less stupid, but it isn’t going to go away any time soon.

    • Custom avatar
      Tim August 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      AS I SEE IT STEVE THE BRITS ARE THE PINNACLE OF STORY WRITERS (DR WHO ANYONE) THE SHOWS CANNED LATELY DIDN’T EVEN GET A CHANCE TO BE BORN ONE SEASON IS NOWHERE ENOUGH TO START A FAN BASE WORLD WIDE HERE IN AUSSIE LAND WE ARE USUALLY THE LAST TO GET THESE SHOWS BUT BY THAT TIME THEY ARE CANNED THE CABLE NETWORKS ARE CHARGING A FORTUNE FOR A SERVICE THAT HAS 3 STATIONS WORTH WATCHING OUT OF 40 PLUS AND WE DO NOT GET TO CHOOSE ITS A VERY GOOD THING THE ONES IN POWER NOW WERE NOT THERE DURING STAR TREK STAR WARS DAYS AND THE LIKE I THINK THESE WERE BRILLIANT BUT THEY TOO WOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE ARSE BECAUSE ALL THEY WATCH IS THAT F G REALITY S T hey guys the problem here is i don’t think the caoprrote big wigs even watch the shows they canso until they do i say leave them going at least 5 seasons this will give the public what we want at the end of the day it’s us who need a major break from all the reality ,cop ,law and game shows these are so 70s get with the timeswe pay for tv now and with all the canned shows now its not worth the raping my wallet gets each month i feel my self and all si fi fans should boycott the networks who do not have the balls to take a small loss in the beginning to reap the rewards laterbring back these shows and start a network that shows only these and i feel you will be on a winnerbecause if these shows die it means a buttload of writing for me iv’e just finished 2 books one for sliders to end it and one for space ubove and beyond two shows that could have ended with a tele movieim also in the middle of my own si fi series called (invasion at rygaria) because im sick of the non original crap that is being pushed our way at the momentso if we all band together and show the fat shirts that we are the ones who eventually pay for these shows they might see things differentlyBRING THEM BACK AND SAVE ME A BUCKET LOAD OF WORK

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      Stephany August 9, 2012 at 7:19 am

      ABC completely lost me as a veewir by cancelling V (and No Ordinary Family). I’m sure they claim it’s due to ratings, but given how they treated the show I say they set it up to fail. First three episodes then a huge wait, then a few more episodes then the season was over, long pause till second season started and then they mess with that too! 13 episodes no! 10! How the F K did they expect to entice a wider viewing market in when they treated the show as if they really didn’t care one way or another? Not to mention ratings don’t count DVR veewirs. I’d love to have watched the show as the new episodes aired but unfortunately I have this thing called a JOB and I don’t exactly get to choose what evenings I want off based on television. Get real you corporate SCHMUCKS! Not everyone makes tons of money and gets to sit around doing what they want (like watching t.v.) all darn day. The show was warming up so well, the characters were really developing, the drama vs action vs sci-fi’ness was exactly the right kind of balance, but because of how those STUPID corporate schmucks treated it, it’s gone before it was really into it’s full swing the third season would have been phenomenal! I won’t watch ANYTHING on ABC networks again until they bring back V.

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