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The Thunderchild Fables

Length: 347 pages4 hours


The USS Thunderchild expedition carried the dreams of a nation and a world. For the first time human beings would set foot on Mars. But the Thunderchild crashed into the face of the Red Planet on entry, leaving the stranded crew with limited chances of survival unless a hastily-launched rescue ship arrives in time to save them. Then, in a shallow valley just beyond the wreckage of the ship, the crew discovers someone had reached Mars before them, unknown to all human kind, and left the evidence of its visit strewn across the valley floor. Panic and fear cascade through the survivors. Captain Myles Jacobs sees that they are bickering among themselves and fears losing control over the expedition's members and all their lives. He orders the crew to present him with theories: What have they found in that red valley and how did it come to be there? He expected trained analytical hypotheses from the best astronauts and scientists the space program could offer, but what he gets are the Fables, extraordinary tales derived from each crewman's experiences, paradigms and personalities. Helmsman Ben Chambers draws inspiration from his estranged father, a career military officer who disdained his son's choice to join the space program; Engineer Travis MacArthur resurrects a boy's memory of a circus and a startling magic trick; Navigator and Science Officer Vincent Carpelli allows bigotry to spin a tale of betrayal; Dr. Luka Spears recalls the loss of a beloved childhood pet to conjure a fantastical tale of mythical proportions; and Captain Jacobs himself warns of the horror of interplanetary civil war. One-by-one they tell their tales, and the hours tick away, waiting for that ship hurtling its way through space to reach them. And something on Mars is listening.

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