Thursday, January 6, 2022

Review of Hard Duty by Mark E. Cooper

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Novel, Science
Intriguing Connections = 1) Once Upon A Future, 2) Adventures Of The Space Faring Kind

Watch the Review

Elaborate Description


Humanity was nearby eradicated with a previous alien encounter.  The Merkiaari retreated, but expected to return.  During this more peaceful time, humans have made their own conflicts, but also sent out distant survey missions.  As the ships would be out of contact for prolonged periods of time, survey missions were considered hard duty.  During Captain Colgan’s survey mission, they encounter a signal from an alien species.  The crew needs to properly observe the species, known as Shan, without creating a potential conflict.  The efforts of first contact are expressed from various perspectives such as military, civilian, scientist, human, and Shan.  This is a story of the many difficult sacrifices that may become needed to initiate friendly contact.  The curiosity and danger of what an unknown species can bring.  There is much that the Shan and humans can teach each other.  But there is a danger of conflict, which can bring about another extermination type event.  How will the humans and Shan make first contact?



There are some perspectives in the book that seem not to have a connection to this book.  Although they do add a layer to an understanding of the politics and life of the times.  The perspectives are possibly important for this book’s sequels. 

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?
•Who are the Merkiaari?
•How has human civilization changed?
•What are some human politics?
•What are the Shan like?
•What are some Shan politics? 
•What are the problems with a first contact situation?
•What is hard duty?
•What can the Shan and humans learn from one another? 

Book Details
Edition ISBN:  2940152784091
Pages to read:   289
Publication:     2017
1st Edition:      2012
Format:           eBook

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    5
Content          5
Overall           5