I’m afraid we can’t allow you to leave

In the fourth and (apparently) final installation in the Start Quest series, humanity has traveled farther from home than any who have gone before them. Their mission is one of mercy. With the impending Death Wave approaching, they have said goodbye to everyone and everything they have ever known to save an alien race.


By Ben Bova

Rating: 3 out of 5.


The Death Wave is coming. What we didn’t realize is that this isn’t the first one. And, it won’t be the last.

Humanity continues its quest to the stars – a mission of mercy and hope for alien races in the path of the Death Wave that cannot save themselves. This time, the aliens we find aren’t like the others. This time, they don’t need saving.

Upon arriving at their destination, the team finds a race of artificially intelligent beings who appear benevolent at first, but when they are not allowed to send communications back to Earth, they begin to question the character of their hosts.

My Thoughts

I think that by now, it should be evident that I write my own synopsis for each story I read. If you wanted to read the Goodreads synopsis, you’d be reading it on Goodreads. Having said that, I write my synopsis in such a way that I hope you are intrigued by the story without having any of the story spoiled.


In this section of my blog, all bets are off. I’m not going to hold back. You may encounter spoilers in this post and those I write in the future.

You’ve been warned.

Throughout this series, each story has progressively taken us farther and farther from Earth. In book 1, New Earth (blog post forthcoming), the destination is eight light-years away, and it takes the human crew 80 years to arrive. Book 2, Death Wave, is the anomaly since the entirety of the story takes place on Earth. In book 3, Apes and Angels, it takes 200 years for the human crew to reach their destination, and in book 4, Survival, it takes them 2,000 years to reach their destination. Keep in mind that these numbers represent the time it takes to travel in one direction, and in each story, the crew expresses a desire to return to Earth.

There are certain concepts that are explored repeatedly throughout the series, such as how each crew comes to the realization that they can never return to the Earth they knew. So much time will have elapsed by the time they return, and the Earth they come back to will be significantly different from the one they left. This causes them to feel like outcasts or as though they have been banished, which isn’t true since all of them left Earth behind of their own free will.

Another topic that continues to crop up is artificial intelligence. In the book New Earth, the artificial intelligence is portrayed as an individual and seeks only to help humanity. In fact, it is this A.I. that devises the plan to draw humanity to the Earth-like planet in orbit around Sirius and to convince them to send missions to the stars to save other races from the Death Wave. In Survival, they encounter another A.I. This one behaves like a hive-mind and is very passive-aggressive with the humans. In fact, this particular A.I. is perhaps a little more like the one described in many science fiction stories – it is only concerned with self-preservation. The A.I. determines that humans have the potential to become a threat, so they refuse to allow the humans to leave the planet or even to communicate with Earth because if they do, more humans will come.

While these books definitely have the underlying theme of the threat of the death wave, they could easily be read and enjoyed independently of one another. Fans of Ben Bova or hard sci-fi will likely enjoy these stories. They might not have been my favorite books, but I did enjoy imagining what it would be like to travel to a distant world and encounter an alien intelligence.

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It’s March, and Spring is just around the corner.

In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to get the garden started, and the bicycle tires aired up. The gloom of winter will soon pass, and the sun will be our companion. What is one thing you will do this year to make this your best summer yet? Share your ideas in the comments.

The Nutcracker Trilogy

I will continue to shamelessly promote these books because I’m so excited about being a small part of Drosselmeyer’s journey. If you’re new here, let me encourage you to check out The Nutcracker Trilogy by Paul Thompson. All three books are available in print and as e-books. Books one and two are available as audiobooks, narrated by yours truly. Click the links below to explore.

Oh, and it doesn’t have to be Christmas for you to enjoy these stories (just like it doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy Harry Potter).

Apple Books / Apple Audiobooks / Amazon / Audible

Author’s Website

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