Telonaut: Humanity has recovered from economic apocalypse, to rebuild a better society, but one still plagued by dissension and selfishness.
Sero Novak is biologically teleported to the wetworld of NineDee on a critical mission to discover the mysterious fate of the colonists there. Novak is mentally connected with the rest of humanity by NeuroVision memory technology. Novak explores NineDee, encountering the dangers of the indigenous life forms and environment—and uncovers ever weirder secrets about the colonists themselves, culminating in a terrible revelation that forces him to take desperate action.
Bereaved, tormented by grief and driven by the fading shadow of the ideals he once held, he knows that a powerful and expectant government is tracking him from Earth via the global broadcast of his own memories. During his mission, Novak befriends a young colonist in whom he sees similar torment and confusion. Will Novak be able to protect the young girl?
Will humanity carry petty desires and desperate wishes across the galaxy? And will Novak be able to act in the best interests of all of humanity when faced with slipping ideals and destructive passions of the people sent to build among the distant stars?
Alone, he confronts the wilderness of loss and the physical danger of the wilds the only way he knows how; sheer will. – Goodreads
The main problem with Telonaut is that fully 1/3rd of the way into the book, I didn’t care about any of the characters at all. They were nothing more than names. This bothered me. By one third of the way into the book, I should have been completely hooked. But I wasn’t. It wasn’t until the 60% point that I even became truly interested in what I was reading. It seems like more and more authors are allowing themselves to use up half the book in order to set up their story. Even for people like me, who read a ton, this is getting old fast.
The characters are well-developed. It’s easy to feel a bit of sympathy for Sero, especially when you consider some of the choices that he has had to make. Just considering in general that he’s always ‘on’ has to be ridiculously hard. I mean modern-day celebrities can try to disguise themselves, hide in their house, etc, but Sero is the camera most of the time, so he doesn’t have that choice. People see what he sees, so everything he does, from an accidental ogle onward, gets broadcast. I can’t even imagine.
I did like the method that they developed for long-distance space travel. I truly don’t remember reading anything that used this particular method ever before. Of course, I can’t say that if it was ever developed I’d ever be able to use it though! Without giving too much away, lets just say that at the end of every mission Sero has to make a choice that would send most of us tizzying into an existential crisis!
The world of Telonaut, one that has rebuilt itself after economic apocalypse, isn’t a perfect one. They’ve got most of their issues ironed out, but there’s definitely some civil unrest going on. Some of it attached specifically to the telonaut program itself. If you’re the type of person who likes to debate government systems and politics, parts of this book will thrill you. The outlying planet that Sero has to travel to is a very interesting place. Simply described, yet exquisitely imagined. And there was a twist the author threw in that I did not see coming. I mean, yeah, things were weird, but I didn’t think they were that weird! So, that was nice.
I will say that Telonaut did have a few pages that would be better found in the more adult novels. It caught me off-guard because there had been nothing more than a hint of hormones in the book, and then suddenly he’s getting his manly bits gobbled. Graphically. And the scenes were just so ridiculously bad. (They actually make perfect sense, as you find out a little later, but at the time, oh sweet baby Cthulhu, you’re eye-rolling so hard.)
The last 30 percent of Telonaut shines and gives you several reasons to stop and think about what you’re reading. Matt Tyson delivers an interesting, engaging story of deception, grief, and madness in the last third of the book. Had the story engaged me even a tad bit earlier than what it did, this would be a whole different review. But, as it is, the awesomeness that does appear in Telonaut is too little, too late. Part of this is, I think, just a matter of taste so I’m not going to blame it all on the book.
Overall, while Telonaut might appeal to some readers, I found myself disenchanted. With that being said, the rest of the series might be worth looking into now that this first book is out of the way. It left off at a bit of a cliffhanger, but not enough to bother me. The first arc of the story was completed. The second book very well could blow the first one out of the water.