“SpaceMan” by Tom Abrahams is a distinctive blending of various space-based survival movies such as “Gravity” and “The Martian” with additional apocalyptic or dystopian storylines happening back on Earth. The book was interesting and entertaining; however, I could not find anything that was truly new or different from others in the survival genre. The book is wonderfully narrated by the renown Kevin Pierce having nearly 300 narrated books to his name on Audible. Be aware this book is also the first in a series of books. It ends with many of the story’s plots unanswered along with a few cliff-hangers so if you enjoy it, be ready to dive into the rest of the series if you want all the answers. On a side note, if you enjoy disaster/apocalyptic stories along with Mr. Pierce’s narration, make sure to check out the Disruption series by R. E. McDermott; you will not be disappointed.
The story opens in a very breathtaking way, like the movie “Gravity”, 249 miles above our big blue planet with astronauts servicing equipment when the unimaginable occurs. A large blast of solar magnetic radiation crates an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) wreaking havoc not only for the astronauts, but the entire population below. In a split-second Clayton Shepard’s life is turned upside down and he needs to discover a way of surviving alone and ultimately get back to earth reuniting with his family. This becomes a life or death challenge with nearly all communications severed due to the solar storm. The author does an excellent job of creating tension and emotional effect and his characters are well developed. One example was Clayton’s drive to bring back the bodies of his friends instead of leaving them to the coldness of space. His actions often revealed his selflessness even when his own life was at risk.
The book shifts between Clayton’s efforts of survival to events taking place on the planet where everyone, including his family, begins to realize the serious nature created by the solar event. No electricity, no cellphone service, no law, and airplanes falling out of the sky keeping people busy and the story’s level of action and excitement always peeked near maximum. People quickly begin to form groups whom they feel they can trust, but this becomes a harder thing to do as conditions worsen. People quickly realize they do not know everything they believed about even their own neighbors. With the lack of communication, people on Earth do not know what happened and things becomes more understood as the book unravels.
The author either knows about his subject matter or he did a good job of researching it. I did not have to suspend belief as with many other books where they wanted more flash and flair than substance. For me, this made the book more realistic and enjoyable. One thing that I would have liked to have seen less of would have been the author’s many references to more modern or past events, trivia, or humor; the book takes place in 2020 so not that much in the distant future, but they seemed to pull me out of the story. I also thought the author did a disservice with some of his representation of religious people in this book, it may change in later titles in the series. The story at one point covers what would best be described as a mob fringe cult, however the author portrays them as nearly all people who hold such religious beliefs.
It will be no surprise to those who know the narrative works of Kevin Pierce that this is another professionally recorded audiobook. As with all the material I have listened to of his, he does an outstanding job with this book. He easily narrates both male and female characters without incident. His reading is clear and reading pace is just right.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.