THE OXYGEN FARMER
Publisher: CamCat Books
Date of Publication: December 5, 2023
Number of Pages: 338 pages
After 35 years of living on the Moon, cranky old oxygen farmer Millennium Harrison has stumbled onto a hidden facility in the shadows of the Slayton Ridge Exclusion Zone with a radiation leak and a deadly secret. Mil’s discovery leads to the death of a young astronaut, sabotage, murder, and cover-ups that may go all the way to the Chief Administrator of the space agency. Unfortunately, she happens to be Mil’s estranged daughter, busy trying to secure her own legacy—the first international mission to Mars.
With time ticking down to a limited launch window, enemies, friends, and even family may do anything to ensure the truth doesn’t come out. Or will history finally catch up with a deadly scheme that has the potential to destroy the moon and eradicate all life on Earth? It seems the planet’s only hope is a cantankerous guy who never really liked those people in the first place.
PRAISE FOR THE OXYGEN FARMER:
Clueless Gent’s Rating for The Oxygen Farmer
The Oxygen Farmer is so entertaining that I’m utterly over the moon about it! (Yes – it’s a pretty cheap pun, but somebody had to say it.) But seriously, I am very impressed with this clever storyline from author Colin Holmes, and even more impressed with the way Holmes tells this sci-fi story without getting too far into the sci-fi weeds.
Mil Harrison (short for Millennium, because he was the first child born into the new millennium in the year 2000) has been an oxygen farmer on the Moon for over three decades, and the writing is on the wall that his services will soon no longer be needed. Very quick to break rules in the interest of efficiency, Mil literally stumbles upon a radioactive hotbed in the dark of a crater. That happenstance begins a series of events that could not only take Mil’s life, but also destroy the Moon and impact the Earth in a fatalistic way.
That’s the initial premise of the story, but it goes into oh so much more than I can explain in a few sentences. Mil is quite the character with quite the history. He is an icon on the Moon, well known to anyone who ever studied the history of mankind creating livable settlements there. His family history is rich in astronautics, with his daughter and granddaughter currently involved in the preparations for the first manned mission to Mars.
“But it’s not patriotism, it’s just business.”
Rather than go further into the fabulous storyline, I’d rather discuss some other fabulous stuff, such as pacing, description and technology.
In stories with a lot of future tech, it’s very easy to get tangled up in the weeds, slowing the story. Not so with The Oxygen Farmer! The tech is kept to a minimum—to the author’s credit—and the emphasis is kept on the story, where it belongs! The pacing in this story never slows down. It’s wonderful and kept my full attention.
Some authors go crazy with world-building in sci-fi novels. Not so in this one. Again, it’s all about the story. There is some new tech, sure, but it’s kept to a minimum. Surprisingly, the story contains a lot of old tech. Props to any author who can handle that as well as Holmes did.
I also enjoyed the way the author included some pretty dry humor. For example, in one scene someone was describing the arrival of a nuclear physicist who wore a T-shirt that said, “Bomb Tech— If You See Me Running Try To Keep Up.” The cast of characters also includes a crusty AI (artificial intelligence) unit that seems to surpass Mil in the persnickety department.
In my opinion, this storyline is completely original, and it gives a feel of humanity to future space exploration. Rarely have I read a sci-fi novel that I’ve enjoyed more!
I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story. You certainly won’t be disappointed!
Signed hardcover of THE OXYGEN FARMER
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