Frozen Sky: Blindsided by Jeff Carlson is book 3 in the Europa series and it continues to look at what happens when the governments of Earth find life on Europa. The main character is a biologist named Vonnie who learns to communicate with the sunfish at the risk of her own safety. She also has to deal with the governments on Earth and the threat of war for the resources that Europa has to offer.
What makes the Frozen Sky series interesting to me is the science involved. There were news stories not to long ago saying that it’s possible there could be life on Europa. Even more recently we heard the news that the space probe Juno had made it to Jupiter. Frozen Sky takes place in the distant future but a lot of the politics and science in the story ties into the present. In reading this series you get the impression that Jeff Carlson did a lot of research on current events and here he presents his vision of what could happen in our future.
My only complaint about this book is that there was almost too much going on. Later in the story when the action picks up and war breaks out, I found myself thinking “this is good but I want to get back to how the sunfish evolved and hear about how they’re smarter than we think.” What I liked most about Blindsided was the relationship between Vonnie, her crew, the sunfish who inhabit Europa and the history behind how they got to where they are.
One of my favorite scenes was when the Sunfish turned their back on Vonnie because they see how she doesn’t trust the robot(called mecha in the story) that is trying to save her crew mate. At this point you think the sunfish aren’t very intelligent but little by little we learn that the sunfish are as smart as the earthlings but haven’t advanced as much due to the harsh living conditions of Europa. The sunfish have a history that gets more interesting as the story unfolds.
Another part I really liked is how it shows Earth in the future. There is still tabloid tv and people still give their opinions on news shows even when they don’t have all the facts. There is a scene when Vonnie is checking to see what the media is saying about her and her boyfriend Ben points out how politicians and the media all have their own agenda and everyone is trying to feed their own ego. He goes on to say that things are always bad for humankind, we have the technology to make paradise on Earth but we choose to lie, steal, point fingers, cheat and kill for land or for god. I love this revelation because we see it in the news every day and I guess in the future nothing really changes.
Blindsided is a book that works on several different levels. I’m not a big Science Fiction fan but I still loved the story, the science behind it and all of the characters. Also the ending of this book left a big smile on my face. I was happy to hear that we will be learning more about the Sunfish of Europa because book 4 is on its way. It will be interesting to see how much deeper Jeff Carlson can go into developing the Sunfish’s world and the politics of future Earth.