by Marsha L. Ceniceros
ISBN-13: 978-1519681256 (Trade Paperback)
Pub Date: November 2015
Imagine a future where our world begins attracting UFOs of the “flying saucer” variety to the extent that some begin failing and crashing, with aliens of various kinds spilling out. The military tries to keep up with them and confine them, all the while keeping as much as possible secret from the public. General Ascot is the character who seems to be in command of all this, at least the part involving a particularly indestructible species of aliens held in clandestine captivity.
That is the starting point of Marsha L. Ceniceros’ new science fiction novel, Sadana 999, but it launches from there to a mesmerizing ride into new possibilities almost as world-shaking as those depicted in Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. Like Clarke’s classic, it covers more than one generation, but most is seen from the viewpoint of Dr. Peru, a biologist and geneticist drafted – or perhaps kidnapped is a better word – by Ascot to assist in Ascot’s plans for those captured aliens. But Ascot does not know just what he is dealing with, although Peru gradually realizes it. Ascot’s manipulations make Peru a key figure in the futures of the aliens themselves, in a way affecting both their and his descendants (whom we meet in the last part of the book). In fact, it affects our entire world and the human race.
Humanity does not come off all that well as depicted in this story. Alien skin, with exotic properties of its own, is converted into protective garments. Captured aliens are treated as prisoners on whom experiments can be routinely performed. Think of some of the worst aspects of Nazi Germany, and you have that here.
Ceniceros sets her story some 600 years in the future, but the setting seems not that far removed from the present day. Think how different from today the world was 600 years in the past, before Columbus sailed to America, before Copernicus first insisted that Earth was not the center of creation, and you wonder if the setting here could not have been made closer to today. But if you can get past that, you can sit back and enjoy the spectacle that is Sadana 999. — Paul Dellinger