The Season of Passage
Tor, Mar 29 2011, $14.99
In 1996, an unmanned probe landed on Mars. The vessel sent back incredible data including unexplained gigantic footprints. The ship abruptly went dead.
In 2000 the Russian sent vessel the Lenin goes to Mars, but also suddenly loses contact with earth. In 2002 an American crew, lands on Mars. They are greeted by a shocker as a cosmonaut remains alive inside freezing Lenin while the ship orbits the planet. The Russian has no pulse and responds in an odd manner with a strange permanent grin to questions from the Americans including medical officer Dr. Lauren Wagner. The Russian escorts the Americans to the surface. While her older sister in on the Angry Red Planet, thirteen year old Jennifer writes a story about Princess Chaneen, an Asuiran goddess, who has ties to what her sibling encounters on Mars. The Martian expedition is disastrous with Lauren and one other astronaut coming home while Jennifer is dead and interred yet Chaneen apparently lives.
This is a reprint of an early 1990 thriller that deftly crosses science fiction and fantasy. The story line rotates between the two subplots until the Mars return leads to a confrontational convergence. With a sort of historiographical feel to the tale as a note points out that the novel is based on scientific knowledge of the 1970s, readers will relish Christopher Pike’s gripping suspense.