Barcus is a working stiff looking for a good paycheck. When the Ventura and its crew enter orbit for a scheduled planet survey, the ship activates an automated defense system protecting the planet. Although the Ventura is destroyed in the attack, Barcus alone survives the harrowing fall to the remote planet surface. He struggles to remain alive and sane, and to discover why everyone he knew and loved on the Ventura was deliberately murdered.
Swinging between despair and fury, Barcus discovers that for every answer he obtains, there are more questions raised. Barcus is assisted by the Emergency Module, Em, his most useful tool. It is an artificial intelligence system contained in an all-terrain vehicle specifically designed to help him survive. Barcus soon finds himself in the middle of a planetary genocide of the local native population. He is unable to stand passively by as more people die, even if they are long lost colonists who fear "the Man from Earth" like children fear the monster under their bed.
Will Barcus ever find his way home? Will he find out who is responsible? Will his rage just burn this world down? Or will he find his soul in the eyes of a starving, frightened woman?
©2015 Martin Wilsey (P)2015 Martin Wilsey
"Space Man Vs. Medieval Planet"
When the Ventura enters the orbit of the planet Baytirus it is immediately destroyed by the planet's defense systems. The sole survivor (that we know of) is Barcus, and together with EM (his modified Emergency Module and the most creepy human-like AI ever with its own agenda) he must survive on a planet that mostly resembles the middle ages. He also discovers that many villages are being attacked with no one spared and he decides to intervene while trying to survive on the planet (since he has some pretty strong robotic AI controlled 'friends' along with him which prove very useful).
The story started off great and was very interesting but then its pacing slowed down considerably and I felt that I was showered with details that really don't impact the greater story much (or at all) and while these details do allow for a better imagining of the scenario I found them to be mostly distracting (since not much is going on during these rather tedious descriptions).
Halfway through the novel, the story picks up again and proper pacing returns.
Every chapter is preceded by a short investigation report of the historical events that occurred during the story, I really loved those little tidbits of information and I hope these will be kept for the subsequent novels.
The narration of Andrew Tell is excellent, his performance is spot on and I felt I was listening to more of an Audio Drama at times. His voice and words are crystal clear (even when using various accents for the various characters) and it was a joy to listen to.
This audiobook was provided by the narrator at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.
"Advanced technology indistinguishable from magic"
Martin Wilsey's Still Falling: Solstice 31 Saga is a sci-fi variant of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, although by medieval standards, the Middle Ages were somewhat enlightened. A survey ship, on an undescribed mission to an inhabited planet is destroyed immediately upon entering orbit. The lone survivor, Barkus with the aid of an advanced, and heavily modified shuttle AI must survive and unravel the mystery of the planet where the culture is based around a high priesthood of "keepers" who control all the technology, which the rest of the population regards as magic and women are regarded as property, while most men are regarded as slaves.
The sci-fi elements are mostly confined to the AI variety. Spaceflight is feasible, but plays a minimal role. Implants and sophisticated medical technology is also on prominent display. A unique angle for the tale is that each chapter opens with a brief excerpt from a future investigation report that alludes to a judicial proceeding and sheds some insight into the current action. Something bad has subsequently occurred, but whether this involves a planet colonization gone wrong or some other event is unclear. Exactly what the survey ship was supposed to be doing is never outlined. Watching Barkus deliberately attempt to reset the planet's civilization is the main draw for the tale.
The narration is quite good, especially with the transition from human to AI.
"Kept me guessing -- very good read"
This would rank in the top portion of what I have read. I finish all books I start, but this is in the area where I was saddened it had finished. The world building and reality checks and balances are very well done.
As I say, I do not compare books. I will say it is one of the better books I have read.
This is the first time I have listened to Andrew, but he does a very good job and at no time was I distracted from the story. Only good readers can do that.
Reading is my passion and when a book allows me to enjoy its characters without hesitation I will share the title. This is well worth the read, but if you are expecting exploding aliens and high-tech mumbo-jumbo, then it ain't here. This is far better than that.
"Nothing at stake in this book"
I bought this book because the reviews were so positive and compared it favorably to The Martian, which I loved. However, I couldn't disagree more! Everything happens as if by magic with supposed advanced technology. There's an almost omniscient power at work so I never had any doubt that the main characters would survive or even be in jeopardy for more than a minute. I listened to the entire book mostly because I was too lazy to look for a different book and narrator was really good at keeping me engaged and hoping that something interesting might happen, but it never did. I guess the author is saving that for books 2 or 3.
If my space ship is shot down over a planet where life is similar to medieval Earth, I will find this book invaluable as a survival guide. Having an almost omniscient AI and some trusty high tech weapons would also prove handy.
"It starts slow, but ends leaving you wanting more"
Probably not. Only because I felt it was more of a set up for further books and it's quite long.
Possibly The Martin mixed with Planet of the Apes.
He brought good emotion and different voice acting. The only criticism I might have is that sometimes his voice goes too intense in scenes that don't seem to warrant it.
What humanity began again?
I received this for review purposes.
"One Giant Cliffhanger"
It was a survival by salvage after a major event style of book, similar to The Martian but further in the future hard sci-fi. The narration was excellent. This narrator, Andrew Tell, needs to narrate more books.
I like the hard sci-fi projections such as AI muscle fibers that are high strength and low energy or the null-G medbay.
Tell did an excellent narration, but I think I liked the character he gave to Smith the best. You get the feel that Smith really understands freedom from his voice.
Yes, I wish time wasn't such a constraint.
I'll be listening to all the follow-up books. Also I'm required to say, "I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot com" but I loved the book for itself and I am always excited to find a new author and, these days, a good narrator too.
"a story of survival and adapting!"
a good story that kept me listning. i was worried i would not come around to relating to the main character but i did as the story progressed.
i was a bit disappointed in the end. alot of unanswered questions about the people that shot down his ship.
good sound with no background noises and the narrator did a good job of bringing feeling to the story.
this audiobook was provided to me at no cost by the author, narrator, and or the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review via audiobookblast dot com
"Good People Doing Good Things"
Still Falling is the first book in an ongoing series. The book is told in two paths, the main one being the story of Barcus and his exploits on a backwards planet he was stranded on, and the second, which is used to open each chapter, covering an investigation taking place at some time in the future investigating the Solstice 31 incident. I'd have to take off half a point for the story due to the fact that the main story I felt told a very good tale, and ended in a satisfying junction, but the investigation story just stopped. From a story telling perspective, as a reader I find that pretty unforgivable, to have listened to an entire longish novel and have no idea what one particular story thread was actually about. I even rewound and listened to a lot of the chapters again to see if I missed something, but no.
That aside, I did enjoy the story and liked how it was essentially the story of a good man in a bad situation, coming to terms with a new world he is on, and his unfailing journey to make that world a better place, and the hardships on.
The narration was very clear and easy to listen too, and the only reason I had for rewinding was not due to missing something said, but the above mentioned missing something I think the author did not write...
In all an enjoyable listen, and I look forward to the next book. I did get this book as a free review copy, but I'd likely purchase the second book when available, just to find out what happens next.
"Good start to the series"
This was a long and enjoyable listen with lots of action. There was quite a bit of graphic violence and descriptions of the atrocities done to dissidents and women so if that sort of thing bothers you, then you should probably pass on this one. The main character is driven to end the atrocities and is assisted by his AI unit who takes on a life of her own and appears to have her own hidden agenda. There is a narrative overlay that I didn't understand at first. It is snippets of a report done sometime in the distant future pertaining to the happenings on the planet and the main characters actions. . Something really bad is coming and he apparently was blamed for it. The story ends abruptly in a cliff hanger.
"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com."
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