A review of Immortelle by Justin Swanton

Have you ever wanted to visit outer space but just didn’t have the money?

If you have, then Justin Swanton’s hard science fiction novel Immortelle might be just the ticket for you.


The story is an example of what the British intelligence agents in Ernst Kilroy’s Project Trojan called ‘highly skilled science fiction.’

According to one of the agents in Mr. Kilroy’s tale: ‘What the skilled science fiction writer can do is take something plausible and technically possible, gain the trust of the reader, and push it very slightly beyond that point.’

The Project Trojan lads wanted to find a story believable enough for the enemy to become distracted with, and Immortelle will definitely distract you.


What is it?

It’s a crewed mission to Mars gone awry. And there is all the stuff of a SF action story onboard (drama, deceit, truck loads of science). It is also a way to delve into some philosophical/ existential concepts.

There are a fair few turns to uncover in the story, and it is worth leaving the mechanics of the plot for when you read it BUT here are some words that tell you a bit about what is in store:

  • Tantalium-tungsten alloy
  • Religion
  • Bean stew
  • NASA
  • aero stationary orbit
  • Ganymede

The main event of Immortelle, in my opinion, is science. It flows with the story but is never showy. I ended up Googling some of the concepts as the story unfolded, so it is part science lesson/ part adventure.

You’ll also find all the stuff that makes up a good old school story -romance, tragedy, double-crossing, action, and a ‘moral’ conclusion. I’m no expert but I think humans sort of crave a certain pattern for things to happen, and the story delivers on that. The philosophical/ existential concepts creep in towards the end, but do not feel preachy and work well with the science part.


Who will like it?

Anyone who likes science fiction -the story is full speed in your face SF.

For what it’s worth I think this story will eventually become well known and end up being published in another format.


Rating:

Three seagulls and a periodic table of elements.


Look it up, check it out, even if you don’t enjoy the story it’s a lesson in science and storytelling.

And it’s free (at the moment).

Read it here.