On Mars: Pathfinder - Science-Fiction by Jim Melanson


I have been frustrated by great sci-fi being out of time, and out of place. Set far in the future and in the far reaches of the galaxy, though enjoyable, those books seem out of reach for my methodical imagination. So, I decided to write my own science-fiction. I decided to write something different.

"On Mars: Pathfinder", is the first installment of a space-opera trilogy. It is set nearby (on Mars) and in the near-future (2019). Good character development is something I aspire to every time I sit down to write. I like my characters to have depth, to be relatable. Even the human-alien hybrids are as endearing and believable as the human characters are. I do "geek out" once in a while on the technology of colonizing Mars, or going to Mars, depending on the chapter. I also love to throw in humour, foibles, and haunting ghosts from a person's past.

When I was writing the first installment, I had Nathan Fillion's character "Richard Castle" in mind. His witty mind, his helpless optimism, his "do-the-right-thing" mentality, they all appealed to me. I wanted to install that sense of faith, bravado, and hope in the person that I crafted. I also, much to the shock of some readers, bring up God and faith fairly regularly.

In this first installment of "The Mike Lane Stories, Volume 1", our hero Mike Lane goes to Mars alone. He goes on a proof of concept mission, to show the world that humans can go to Mars and survive there. It's a one-way trip though. The Corporation that sends him is not able to bring him back. In fact, all of their future colony missions will be one way. That's okay, Mike Lane accepts this and doesn't look back.

The day he arrives on Mars, six minutes after arriving, to be exact, his landing craft explodes. Surviving the destruction by being cocooned in the airlock, the hero soon finds out he's not alone on Mars... and he isn't welcome.

Bad aliens, good aliens, beautiful alien-human hybrids, the US Air Force, the North Koreans, the Swiss government... nothing about his adventure is going to be easy. Oh, yeah, the Men in Black show up in the strangest places.

My friend Monique says that I made the intricacies of space flight seem almost understandable. The very first person to buy a copy of the book said that I "rocked the action scenes". I think the best words of praise to be received yet, from someone who posted on my facebook page, was that I had crafted a "plausible" story.

As I write this (May, 2015), I'm almost halfway through the sequel. It's going to blow the socks off of volume 1. If you like science-fiction, action, drama, romance, and good old shoot 'em ups, this book is an excellent choice... even if I do say so myself.