Book Review – Prometheus’ Fire by Michael Mitchell
Prometheus’ Fire is an engaging story of alien contact. Mallach, a humanoid born on Earth of alien parents, is a member of a scientific team assessing humanity’s readiness for entry into the Consortium of Worlds’ economic sphere. He admires humanity for its inventiveness and initiative, he considers himself an American (because he was born there), and he wants to accelerate human entry into the galactic league.
To qualify for contact, a species must demonstrate at least one of two achievements, power generation from nuclear fusion or mass neutralization, which is essentially dimension-skipping, anti-gravity technology. He plans to give them information that will allow them to develop both, which is a serious violation of Consortium law.
This is a simple, straightforward, and enjoyable story that falls into the pulp Sci-Fi subgenre. There isn’t much here by way of deep thoughts, political or cultural satire, or serious exploration of humanity or speculation about its future. It’s just a good story. The aliens have space faring technology and a greater distaste for violence, but other than that, they are much like modern humans in Western society. We see little of their culture, and what we do see looks a lot like contemporary America.
I found several things to like about this book. The characters are engaging, the protagonist is likeable, the antagonist is believable (if a bit one-dimensional), and it is different from much of the Sci-Fi you see on bookstore shelves these days. It’s not an ‘action-packed’ shock fest. There are no zombies or vampires, and there is no graphic sex or gratuitous violence. These are the kinds of attention-grabbing things sometimes strung together in a book in place of a good story. Prometheus’ Fire has good story.
The greatest flaw I see in the book is one of style. The author tends to tell the readers what has happened rather than showing them what is happening. The first ten percent or so of the book is largely backstory, making for a slow start.
As the first novel from a new author, this is better than most I have seen. I got my copy during a free Kindle promotion, but if you like good pulp Sci-Fi suitable for all ages, it is well worth the current 99¢ asking price.