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
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.