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After Atlas - A Planetfall Novel

Publisher: Roc Trade Paperback

After Atlas is the follow-up to Emma Newman's amazing sci-fi adventure Planetfall and takes place around the 40 year anniversary of Atlas' departure from planet Earth carrying the Pathfinder and her group to find God's City. The central character is Carlos Moreno, a police detective who works for the Ministry of Justice (or more specifically, is owned by them in the form of an indentured servitude contract) and he is also something of a celebrity, since his mother abandoned his father and him when he was but an infant to follow Suh-Mi on Atlas. As the 40th anniversary approaches and everyone is in a tizzy about the opening of the capsule left behind by the Atlas crew and what it could possibly contain, all Carlos wants is a bit of peace. But that is not to be.

You see, Moreno lives in a far-flung future where the world is run by gov-corps and is now divided between America, Europe and Norope. Food is typically 3D printed and each person is fitted with a chip in their brain that allows cashless transactions, continual monitoring of everything they do, and pretty much the internet directly in their brain via their own APA (Artificial Personal Assistant). It makes solving crimes a lot easier for Moreno and the MoJ, but when a high profile murder gets assigned to him, it's not much help.

The victim is Alejandro Casales, the leader of a religious group known as The Circle and a place where Carlos spent his childhood after his mother left and his father mentally checked out. Alejandro was one of the people left by Atlas way-back-when and his particularly brutal murder makes it even more difficult for Carlos. So does the fact that The Circle shuns tech and the members aren't chipped, but investigate the crime he must, so he heads off to a posh and very old-school hotel where Alejandro spent his last days.

As he and Tia (his APA) work the case together, he meets several interesting people, including Alejandro's girlfriend, Selena Klein; another guest at the hotel, Travis Gabor, who is clearly the trophy husband of the billionaire jerk Stefan Gabor; and a reporter named Naal Delaney who has been trying to connect with Carlos for some time, but because of his lack of interest in the Atlas capsule and everything surrounding it, Carlos has previously ignored all of the requests.

While he is quickly able to draw conclusions that lead to the case being closed, Carlos still has the niggling feeling that something has been missed and continues to quietly pursue leads, much to the chagrin of his boss, Milson. Before he knows what has hit him, he has angered the wrong people and he finds himself in a dire situation, one that requires him to go to The Circle, face his past and his estranged father, and hopefully unravel the mystery surrounding Alejandro's death, while saving his own ass.

Once again, Emma Newman crafts a compelling sci-fi novel, although I must admit that I found After Atlas more action-centric and really hard to put down. I loved Planetfall, as well, but it was more introspective and thoughtful, whereas After Atlas reads like a futuristic mystery/thriller. If you enjoyed Planetfall, After Atlas is can't-miss stuff. Even if you didn't read Planetfall, you can still really enjoy After Atlas, you just might miss a few things veterans of the futuristic world would catch. Do yourself a favor and read both.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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