The second team arrives on Mars to discover that the mind may be the most challenging environment to traverse safely.
Deeper Into the Void Home Page
The faint sun pierces the thick glass above and rests upon the perfect mirror surface of the pond within the glass dome. Years of abandonment have seen the dome withstand sands driven by relentless winds outside, and unchecked plant growth within its protective envelope.
A high-stakes wager, the attempt at colonizing and industrializing Mars, has been made. Painstaking details have been attended to; grotesque amounts of time and capitol have been invested. Autonomous machines have been dispatched to construct an enormous glass dome on the surface of Mars. The ice buried beneath the surface within, begins to melt and collect. Small buildings have been erected within the dome to provide shelter and basic needs to the brave people assigned to the first mission to inhabit and study the Mars.
The first mission, captained by Gregory Underwood, arrives and begins to cultivate the soil within, despite the difficulties in growing plants in barren soil. Encouraging reports have been relayed back to Badlands Defense Group, the corporation that has undertaken all risk, and which plans on capitalizing on the venture. The second phase of the mission has begun, construction of further domes, to house mining and manufacturing efforts, has begun.
Months of discovery and advancement pass; until one day, when communications cease, and all within the dome grows quiet. One final transmission was dispatched back to Badlands, no one fully understand what is meant by it, or what it will mean for the future of the project.
The second team is sent to finish the mission. Upon arrival, everything within the dome appears to be working normally. No sign of the first expedition is found, until a video log surfaces depicting some of the last days of the first team.
The second team challenges the elements, and every preconception that they have about the mission. As the days pass, the enigmatic malice laying dormant within begins to awaken. The question is, within what is the dormant element awakening?
Pacific Book Review - October 2011
Author, Mitchell A. Duncan has created a most tantalizing, sci-fi and psychological fiction with Deeper Into the Void. With his pen, he launches The Reconciliation, a freighter spacecraft, carrying a highly specialized crew and me to the foot of Olympus Mons - the largest mountain range on the red planet, Mars. Landing safely, Captain Cardiff and her team set about their mission. There are two main objectives for the crew: Test sustainable life conditions to ensure humanity‘s future and find out what happened to the first team who vanished from there some time ago. On the surface, the mission appears successful as an ecosystem is attempted, as soil and rock samples are taken, as the pond is tested and plant life is growing. Positive reports are sent back to earth, but the answers as to why the first crew went missing do not surface immediately. In fact, with each passing day, the new team begins to experience bazaar happenings and each one, secretly worries, wondering if they might be losing their grip on reality. This believable mystery, Deeper Into the Void, has enough drama and suspense to come in at four-stars.
Earth’s resources have become scarce and it cannot survive more than two decades. Industry and government defense depends on finding a new frontier with needed space for large buildings, new materials for production, and strong capabilities for the industry expansion with lowered cost. Badlands Defense Corporation has spent billions on cutting edge technology and travel to Mars after the Prometheus Group built a power station called the Dome. With the Dome in place, Badland’s scientific teams have traveled there to test living conditions to prepare for the eventual civilization of the red planet.
Captain Cardiff and the second team have arrived at the Dome. There seems to be no explanation for the missing first team. They simply vanished, but their experiments continue to thrive, so this team picks up where they left off; collecting precious stones, taking water samples and releasing bees to pollinate fruit trees. Progress logs are kept by each person. They report their findings to earth, as objectively as possible. They leave out what they cannot yet explain. They do not confide their insecurities to each other, instead proceeding as professionally as they can, to do the work they came there to do. The ever-prepared Captain Cardiff finds herself unable to prepare for an enemy she cannot see, hear, or touch, except as a nightmare; the psychologist begins to question her own sanity while attempting to evaluate the mental stability of her teammates. The wise one, eventually, wonders if he can convince the others what he has discerned about the sinister experiences they have all had, but cannot explain what is happening. In the end, will he be able to convince them of a dark, malevolent, reality that exist among them, or will he be dismissed as just another scientist gone mad?
Deeper Into the Void is written in present tense. This gave me a first-person view and experience of the mystery, as it unfolded. This kept my senses peeked for each developing scene and adventure. Also, the author’s background in psychology allowed for psychological depth, unanticipated in popular science fiction. As a result, I felt personally acquainted with each of the crew members as they pioneered the possibilities for life on Mars. I was left anxious to go even Deeper Into the Void and hoping Mitchell A. Duncan was already working on a sequel to his, suspenseful and mind-bending creation.
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