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The Perennial Project
First book in The Future Happens Twice trilogy

by Matt Browne

      Matt Browne has undertaken a monumental task. He has launched a science-fiction trilogy that Trekkies and hard science readers will love. The first book in The Future Happens Twice trilogy, The Perennial Project, follows linguistics expert Debrya Handsen as she is brought into a secret government project attempting to save humanity from a disaster which is coming sometime in the near future.

The project is preparing to send a colony ship to a planet eighty-two light years away. With current technology, that would take 42,000 years to arrive at its destination. Since a generational ship would be too big to construct and supply, biological and genetic breakthroughs have provided a solution. The ship will be manned by androids, for which Handsen is hired to tweak their language systems, and will carry frozen embryos to be incubated and brought to term about two decades before planet fall.

To guarantee the project's success, the team has created a test ship that has already birthed a crew. They also are observing test embryos that have been born several decades apart across the US. Unknown to the team, some of these people are making contact with their embryonic twins. As this unfolds, Handsen struggles with a myriad of ethical concerns.

This part of the book could have been a stand alone book for the trilogy. However, Browne continues the story in The Perennial Project, letting readers find out what happens when the final team embarks on their journey to their new homeworld. The second book, Human Destiny, takes place a hundred years after planet fall and deals with the colonists' return to Earth. The final book, Andromeda Encounter, tells what happens 700 years after the colonists' return.

A computer scientist who works for a large multinational company in Germany, Browne has been able to inform readers in intricate detail about speculative advances in computers and bioengineering. This detail lays a solid foundation for the story as it unfolds. Unfortunately, sometimes that detail and some of the ethical discussions get in the way of the story. For example, Handsen's orientation to the project covers a couple of hundred pages. It isn't strictly exposition; there is action, some building of mystery, and character development. But it is long. In fact, the entire book is over 700 pages!

I did find the detail fascinating and some of the ethical discussion interesting. But I really was more interested in the actual voyage and what the colonists would find on their new world. That, I hope, will be part of the second book. And, frankly, there I think I might really enjoy the detail because it will show how these people managed to carve a life out for themselves in a new frontier. Browne is to be congratulated on a new epic.

The Book

Athena Press Publishing Co. UK
June 2007
Trade paperback
184401830X / 978-1844018307
Science fiction
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Janie Franz
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book. Coming Soon: The Ultimate Wedding Workbook.
© 2008