Imagine if you were to come home from abroad and suddenly find the world is not exactly the way you left it? In their first ambitious foray into the genre of science fiction, Edward and Eunice Vought (Best Friends, They Call Me Nuisance) attempt to bring their vision of a planet devastated by world war to life in 2nd Earth.
With the backdrop of a world scoured clean by the neutron bomb, this tale of personal maturity intertwined with societal rebirth is told from the perspective of Navy SEAL Jon “Zeus” Gorman. Jon is the quintessential all American solider; clean, mean, and God fearing, a poster boy of American virtue. Knee deep in the mud and the blood or standing tall in his dress whites, Gorman is well aware of what is right, what is wrong and tries his best to live up to his beliefs.
Riding shotgun in this adventure is Timmy Nolan, the ying to Jon’s yang. Timmy is a sly savvy New Yorker who is almost the exact opposite of Jon; worldly, ambivalent, and more than willing to swim deep into the grey muck that lies between black and white.
After their last active duty mission, this pair of war weary soldiers decide to head back to the states for a little R&R with Timmy’s family in the Big Apple. Falling asleep on the subway, fate decides to turn our intrepid heroes on their heads as they wake to a world similar to their own but so altogether different that their lives will never be the same again.
While not groundbreaking, 2nd Earth really is a well planned out novel. It’s only real failure is not in the material that the authors have chosen to write about, it is in the execution. Written from the first person perspective, this story turns it into one long monologue broken up occasionally with pieces of dialogue. This choice of writing style takes away from what could have been a raucous journey into a new and exciting universe and turns it into some guy just telling you a story.
For their first sci/fi effort, I give the authors credit for stretching their legs and taking a chance. Science fiction is a difficult genre to work in and 2nd Earth is no way in the same class with masters like Robert A. Heinlein, David Drake, or Joe Haldeman and to be honest I don’t think it tries to be.
It is what it is…a decent, parent friendly, soft-core launching pad for early teen readers wanting to break into the world of science fiction, and in the end it should spark enough interest in their young minds about the genre to find out exactly what else is out there…