Wild Stars: Force Majeure Starts Slow But Delivers Staggeringly New SF Concepts

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Wild Stars Force Majeure Michael Tierney Critical Blast

Your baby has been kidnapped by a force from an erased timeline. Your immortal father arrives moments after in a time-traveling spaceship to help you get her back from where she was hidden in time -- but only after she's been allowed to grow up into an adult, alone, because somehow during her new life she stops Earth from being annihilated.

What do you do?

Michael Tierney's follow up to his graphic novel, WILD STARS, combines some of the most innovative science fiction concepts in the genre, with ships based on aquatic animal physiology, self-healing shuttles made from ice with liquid cores, and telepathic dinosaur bloodhounds. From the echoes of the big bang to human colonization of the stars, WILD STARS: FORCE MAJEURE operates against an infinite tableau to tell a cosmos-spanning story. When Miri, the daughter of Akara and Mack is abducted, Akara's father, Erlik, arrives in The Wooden Starship seconds later, accompanied by the telepathic Daestar. Even though the kidnapping just happened, he's already been searching for her for quite some time, and the results of his investigation conclude that the Earth is a much better place because Miri was kidnapped, even if that wasn't the intent of the man-wolf creatures who took her.

After a side trip to prehistoric Earth, the team venture to the far future where Miri, now known as Atlanta, is wanted as a terrorist by the Martian military after she recovers a weapon of incalculable power from below the Martian surface. This weapon, classified as a force majeure, seems to have its origins in Earth mythology. Could it really be Poseidon's trident?

Throw in some zombie alien spies, clones, memory dumps of immortals, and the mystery of some migrating solar systems, and you have all the makings of some epic science fiction.

The originally published WILD STARS was done in comic book form, collected into a graphic novel. This follow up is a bit of a blend, being 90 percent novel and 10 percent comic book, as it wraps around and incorporates previously published issues of the WILD STARS sequel, PRAIRIE BAY. The way this was done was brilliant, in that the chapters involve none of the main characters, as they are looking through a window onto events -- and now so are the readers.

Detracting from the story is the fact that there is so much history which happens prior to the main plot -- history that either occurred in WILD STARS or even before that -- which drives much of the story. Although it's not so much the fact that the history is there, but that it's delivered in bulk through dialogue, with characters explaining their actions or arriving at conclusions based on knowledge they will now reveal. This is largely front-loaded into the first handful of chapters, after which things smooth out and the pace of the action accelerates nicely.

Decades in the making, WILD STARS and WILD STARS: FORCE MAJEURE form a standout work of science fiction that takes a new, if wordy, perspective on nearly everything it introduces.

3.5 / 5.0