||Silver Leaf Books
||Feb 28, 2007
Barnes & Noble.com
Stuart Clark's Official Website
Project U.L.F. is the story of one mans betrayal and his efforts to unite an unlikely band of characters and ensure their safe return home after they are abandoned on a hostile alien world.
Project U.L.F is a Science Fiction drama played out on an inhospitable planet millions of miles from Earth. It is a story of betrayal and one man’s struggle to unite an unlikely band of characters and ensure their safe return home.
Wyatt Dorren is an ex-con. Imprisoned for a crime of passion, Wyatt has managed to turn his life around thanks to the state prison rehabilitation programme. Initially placed at Chicago’s Interplanetary Zoological Park (IZP), Wyatt was employed as a trapper, travelling to known star systems to capture alien life forms for exhibition at the zoo. Today, he has reached the levels of middle management and heads Project ULF (Unidentified Life Form), a department of highly skilled personnel who travel to newly discovered planets to capture new and previously unknown forms of life.
Wyatt’s unexpected success poses a threat to Douglas Mannheim, a conniving, underhanded man who has blackmailed his way to the position of Managing Director of the IZP. Mannheim recognises the danger that Wyatt represents and, based on information supplied to him, plots to send Wyatt and a rag-tag team of trappers on a bogus mission to a remote, uncharted planet from which he knows no-one has returned, thereby eliminating his latest challenger.
Unknown to Mannheim, a University graduate, Kate Frere, is assigned to Wyatt’s crew, since on paper the expedition has been arranged to look like a routine assignment.
Both Wyatt and Kate are blissfully ignorant of their predicament but because they have different expectations from the expedition they rarely see eye-to-eye. It is this conflict and Kate’s naiveté that will ultimately expose the awful truth of what has befallen them.
Now, with a stricken ship, faulty equipment, inexperienced crew members and a rogue element to deal with, Wyatt must unite his team of men and women and find a way to get back home.
There is of course one other problem. They are no longer the hunters but the hunted.
SF Signal Review
REVIEW SUMMARY:Excellent sci-fi thriller that offers a ride reminiscent of Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An ex-con turned animal hunter is thrust onto a very dangerous planet and forced to rally his rag-tag team of misfits into a fight for their very lives.
Humanity's first reach into the stars has some very practical side-effects. While most people won't get the chance to visit other planets, they are interested in the life that is found there and it is natural to assume today's zoos will want to fill that need. Wyatt Dorren is an ex-con with a new lease on life thanks to a work-release program that has put him on an animal hunting crew with Chicago's interplanetary zoo. He traps animals on newly discovered planets and brings them back for exhibition in the zoo. Wyatt is good at his job and rapidly rises through the ranks ultimately attracting the attention of the zoo Director - who sees him as a threat. To deal with this, Wyatt is secretly sent on a mission to planet only just discovered - one that completely eliminated any traces of the initial survey team.
This one-way trip involves a group of people all intended to be lost - close friends of Wyatt, ineffective junior employees, the elder trapper about to draw a huge pension, and another work-release felon whose violent behavior is proving impossible to manage. But in addition to this group, the cover-up involving the secret destination also traps a student out on a planetary survey sponsored by her school. Thanks to this and a few other helpful accidents, Wyatt discovers the true situation and has to drag his team across the dangerous ground on a trek for their survival.
Clark manages to spin this tale into a very fun and compelling read. The plot moves along sharply - and that is what impressed me the most. There are some side-elements that might have been better eliminated (Wyatt has dreams that foreshadow trouble but end up meaning little) but overall the book moves quickly. There is political intrigue involving blackmail of a General, the confrontations between Wyatt and the Director, and of course the troubles on the planet itself. The team suffers setbacks, but none of them felt contrived or designed to stall the plot or pad the book. The trek across the planet has a great sense of forboding - especially when the reader knows more than the characters and sees that they are about to walk into trouble. Finally, I really liked the fact that at the end of the day, the planet has no sense of evil or morality to it - that is instead left for the humans. The alien creatures that go about their lives in the harsh environment are neither good nor bad - they are just surviving.
The science fiction is pretty well done, especially the parts involving the ecology of the alien planet. The ideas on alien life forms are just Earth-like enough to make the threats they pose seem real. Imagine finding a planet like Earth's in the grip of the dinosaurs, for example. From carnivorous plants to emerging sentient frog-men and to the truly dangerous beasts on the planet they all felt realistic and believable.
Some of the characters are a bit stereotypical (the ex-con, the kid, etc.) although I give Clark some credit for admitting to it in the book. At one point Wyatt, under the delusion that his team was assembled for media value, points out how each of them fits a specific role. Hey, at least he was honest about it. And while some characters change a little due to the experience, most of them aren't that deep to begin with and aren't candidates for growth. It is a thriller, after all, and not exactly Hyperion. I didn't mind that the characters are somewhat weak - this is a plot-driven story that is ultimately very good at what it was meant to be.
All told - I was glad I read the book and had a good time reading it. It is a great bit of pulp fiction that delivers a fast-paced, exciting read.
Review by Angela Schuch
Stuart Clark kindly offered an advanced copy of his new book, Project U.L.F., for me to review.
Books like this simply validate my love of science fiction. Not only are his characters realistic and interesting, but the storyline is extremely engaging. From the time I first sat down to read, straight through to the end, I was captivated.
Wyatt Dorren heads Project U.L.F. (Unidentified Life Form) for the Interplanetary Zoological Park. In the past, he has been a trapper, visiting various planets and collecting different species of extraterrestrial life to bring back to the zoo. So, when he is offered to lead another mission of the same, which he thinks will be good for promoting the zoo, he agrees. But, unbeknownst to Wyatt, Douglas Mannheim has other plans for this “routine” mission. The disreputable Mannheim is the manager of the zoo, and feels threatened by Wyatt. So, he assembles a special team for Wyatt and sends them on a one-way trip to a planet from which no one has returned.
Mannheim isn’t the only one with an ulterior motive. And the planet is much more dangerous than anyone imagines. With deadly creatures around every corner, not everyone will survive this nightmare.
Comparable to tense, science fiction movies such as Alien and Pitch Black, Project U.L.F. is a guaranteed non-stop, heart-pounding thriller. At the end of each chapter, I felt like I could finally exhale in relief. Cleverly written from different points of view (and sometimes of the aliens themselves), only added to the suspense. Clark’s vivid depiction of the deadly planet and imaginative creatures brought the book to life. I’ll be looking forward to more works from this new author.
Project U.L.F. will be available February 28th from Amazon, and is now available for preorder. It’s also available now direct from Silver Leaf Books.
This exciting science fiction novel is about a trapper named Wyatt Dorren. Shrouded by a rocky past, he finds himself in charge of leading a crack-pot team to a seemingly abandoned planet. He believes the trip is a routine excursion to bring back alien lifeforms for the city zoo. Trained in hunting and trapping creatures of unknown planets, no amount of training could prepare some of these specialists for what they were up against. When Wyatt realizes the type of people included in his team, he begins to question the realism of the expedition. As he discovers the true nature of his quest, he comes in contact with new species that threatens their lives. Stuck on unfamiliar territory, Wyatt must convince the team to work together to get back home or be stranded on a dangerous planet forever.
Set in Chicago where hover vehicles abound, Project U.L.F. brings to its pages what Alien and Predator brought to the silver screen. Stuart Clark fabricates the Central American Jungle into a foreign, futuristic setting and places his characters in a manner that entertains, thrills and leaves you at the edge of your seat. The author keeps the momentum of the story by immersing the characters from one encounter to the next, until the reader does not know where he or she is going to end up. Stuart Clark does not waste the reader’s time with too much dialogue but fits in just enough to distinguish the characters and move the story along.
The main character, Wyatt Dorren, is in charge of the whole U.L.F. Acquirement Department at the IZP but he gets a rude awakening when he finds out the real purpose of his involvement. He has to learn that he cannot continue his life as a loner but must trust in others around him while leading the group to safety. Kate Frere, a young biologist, is believed to have been on a standard mission to retrieve specimens but finds herself involved in an unexpected situation. Her role in the story seems to compliment Wyatt since they are forced to work out their differences to survive. With a collection of memorable outcasts, conflict arises that almost tears the team apart.
Captivating from the first page, Project U.L.F. is a story that is not bogged down by technical literature, but filled with terminology suited for the genre. Science fiction fans will find it easy to read and unable to put the novel down until you reach its entirety.
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Reader Reviews for "Project U.L.F."
|Reviewed by Richard Bunning
|This adventure in space builds a vivid picture of future time and distant worlds, populated by the exotic creatures of bounteous creations every bit as diverse as the Earth's. We have a diverse team of specimen collectors sent, not so much to gather, as to die. This is a great adventure undertaken by a group of strongly cast individuals, who must choose between desperate cooperation and death. Not a hard choice, one may think! An adventure that can grab the imagination of those of all ages,in short, the sort of engaging book that now so rarely makes it through the vile and shocking to the front of our few remaining book-stores. This is the sort of SF that readers across most mainstream genres can enjoy.|