Last Chance
by Kelly W. Carpenter

"They tore into the Human and Toli forces in a rage..."

In the realm of literature, science fiction is perhaps the hardest genre to execute effectively. When a work in this challenging category is done well, it sparks with carefully constructed originality. This novel manages to tackle this difficult assignment with flying colors. In Carpenter's tale, an ancient colony ship from Earth makes its way to the nearest port of call in order to make repairs. The action starts right off the bat, and it becomes clear that the human race is on its last legs. Their instinct is to settle a sparsely populated mystery planet. Dubbed "Last Chance" by the colonists, the tiny world represents humanity's last great hope. As with every form of colonization, even fictional ones, complications don't take long to rear their ugly heads. A long-lasting war and continued settling of other planets force the characters to face hard truths.

The narrative in Carpenter's novel is fresh and solid. The danger and conflicts all feel real. The themes covered are artistically understated in the best traditions of high-quality sci-fi. At times exhilarating, at other times a bare-bones philosophical allegory, this is an adult form of entertainment that comes across as profoundly exciting for the reader. The characters all mesh well with each other, and the climactic ending feels well earned. But perhaps the book's most uplifting aspect is that it manages to provide some much-needed escapism for challenging times. It offers fully formed characters who represent the potential within each of us to seek out a better life. In short, the author presents a truly entertaining literary experience.

Return to USR Home