by P.A. Baines
Alpha Redemption was deeper and much more profound than I was prepared for. Brett, the lone astronaut on the first trip to Alpha Centauri, makes friends with the ship's computer, Jay. We know Brett has some kind of tragedy in his past, but it takes almost the whole story to see just how tragic his situation really is. When he travels at lightspeed, he must go into stasis and during that time, he dreams or relives the past. His past memories seem to get better and better, the further back he goes.
But Brett's present situation and some of the oddities of this new technology are increasingly dangerous. And then there's Jay, whom Brett initially finds annoying, but without whom he would be extremely lonely. On the other hand, I didn't find Jay annoying at all. In many chapters, Jay was more interesting than Brett! Jay hadn't given up on everything and everyone. Jay wanted to learn and grow. Brett took the job because he knew it was a suicide mission. I liked the character of Jay quite a bit and was really happy with where the author went with the idea of approaching sentience. The line where Jay asks God, "Are you real?" and gets an answer just gave me chills.
While this wasn't the light-hearted, humorous book I thought it would be, it was very compelling and emotionally engaging. I cried. A lot. (This may or may not be significant: I also cried extensively through the movie A.I.) When I finished, I just sat, staring into space for the longest time. The ending was unexpected and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Not in a bad way, just in that, "Wow, that was really profound" way.
If you're looking for a profound science fiction, look no further than Alpha Redemption by Paul (P.A.) Baines.
Visit the author's website at pabaines.com.
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