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The Eye with Which the Universe Beholds Itself
Apollo Quartet 2

Ian Sales

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Whippleshield Books

Published : 2015

Copyright : Ian Sales 2012

ISBN-10 : PB 0-9931417-1-4
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-9931417-1-3

Publisher's Write-Up

For fifteen years, Earth has had a scientific station on an exoplanet orbiting Gliese 876. It is humanity’s only presence outside the Solar System. But a new and powerful telescope at L5 can detect no evidence of Phaeton Base, even though it should be able to. So the US has sent Colonel Bradley Elliott, USAF, to investigate. Twenty years before, Elliott was the first, and to date only, man to land on the Martian surface. What he discovered there gave the US the stars, but it might also be responsible for the disappearance of Phaeton Base…

About the Author:
Ian Sales has been published in Postscripts, Jupiter, Alt Hist and the anthologies Catastrophia (PS Publishing), Vivisepulture (Anarchy Books), The Monster Book for Girls (theExagerratedpress) and Where Are We going? (Eibonvale Press). He edited the anthology Rocket Science from Mutation Press.

'We are now halfway into em>The Apollo Quartet, and it is already clear that Ian Sales is producing a very considerable work. This is, quite genuinely, rocket science.'

Dave Hutchinson

'In a time when too much SF is mired in the mundane or away with the fairies, we need more like this.'

Ken MacLeod

'A fascinating and compelling read.'

Chris Beckett
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nigel (311215) Rating (9/10)

Review by Nigel
Rating 9/10
In issue #268 of SFX Dave Hutchinson writing for the Book Club (celebrating Classic SF & Fantasy Novels) extolled the works of Ian Sales, in particular his Apollo Quartet. Being an avid fan of science fiction I ordered all four titles off the back of this review and proceeded to read.

All four of quartet are very good, however, it was the second novella, The Eye with Which the Universe Beholds Itself, which I thought was by far the best. This may be because it ticked my ‘hard science fiction’ box the most but also because it had my mouth hanging open on reading the last few pages… what had been a good story up to this point became, in my opinion, quite brilliant.

The story follows two timelines 20 years apart, the first starting in 1999 when Brigadier General Bradley Emerson Elliott, USAF, is on his way an exoplanet orbiting Gliese 876 to investigate the apparent disappearance of the scientific station there. The other starts in 1979 where the younger Major Bradley Emerson Elliott, USAF, is about to be the first person to set foot on Mars and make a discovery that changes the future of humanity. Both stories run together perfectly, each reveal from the earlier mission moves the narrative of the future mission along nicely until Bradley is standing on the surface of the exoplanet and the cat is truly out of the bag, so to speak…

My advice is to stop reading any more of this review and read the book as it was meant to be read from the beginning to the very end and you will have an amazing journey.

Spoiler Alert

I could not make up my mind whether to discuss this or not but I decided the book wouldn’t be appreciated for the gem it is if the reader stopped at the end of the story and didn’t bother going any further. When I read a book I tend to read everything, including the stuff at the back after the main story, the glossaries, the author interviews, the notes, etc., as at times it truly enhances a book. However, I do know that many readers reach the ‘end’ of the story and that is it, on to the next one. In the case of The Eye with Which the Universe Beholds Itself this would be a huge mistake.

Upon reaching the end of the novella I felt a little disappointed with the outcome but had enjoyed the writing and imagery created. I then proceeded to check out the appendices included, as they had been in Adrift on the Sea of Rains, although this time they were more important as some of the terms discussed placed the seeds for the story’s denouement. At the end of the glossary are just over two pages entitled Coda and it is in these pages the brilliance of the story is revealed.

The whole quartet is highly recommended but if nothing else read The Eye with Which the Universe Beholds Itself; it is only £2.99 on the kindle or £4.99 in paperback and well worth every penny. A must for any SF fan.
Nigel (31st December 2015)

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