One Way has everything you need for a great science fiction thriller. The thrill of traveling to another planet. The anxiety of braving the elements when everything is geared to kill you. The eventual realization that nothing is as it seems. The novel starts out as this strange mission to Mars and ends up firmly in the thriller/horror genre, creating this constant fear of what’s lurking behind every corner.
A few spoilers ahead!
There’s this terror present every time they leave an airlock. Will there be enough oxygen? Will they suffocate on the way back to the hab? It’s so easy to create accidents and as they start to pile up, it becomes obvious something is amiss. The fear aspect is very real as Frank attempts to understand why his fellow crew members are dying. I’ll admit, I figured out the primary plot point early in the book, but that didn’t take away from the thrill of reading it through to the end. It’s a brilliantly morbid reveal, fueled by corporate greed of the utmost caliber.
Overall, One Way is two stories that perfectly coalesce. On the one hand, we have a hard science Mars survival story, with full details on surviving the journey, creating a habitat, growing food, and living through the day-to-day struggles of being the only eight people on the planet. On the other hand, we have a brilliant sci-fi thriller that slowly reveals itself to be a nightmare. That realistic survival story makes the thrills all the more terrifying. It’s a real nail-biter that I couldn’t stop thinking about.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
By S.J. Morden
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