Vessel: Lisa A. Nichols on Family and Galaxies Far Far Away

Review of Lisa A. Nichols’ Vessel (Emily Bestler Books/Atria, 2019)

Rich Characters

The character development is what really drew me in more than anything else for this delightful novel by Lisa A. Nichols. The book Vessel is a testament of how enjoyable a story can be when the author takes the time to flesh out the main characters.

This novel is about the sacrifices and excitement of intergalactic travel in a future not too distant from our own. The story follows the protagonist Acting Commander Catherine Wells of the Sagittarius starship and her misadventures as her mission through a fictionalized time-space wormhole—an Einstein-Rosen bridge dubbed “ERB Prime” and not far from Mar’s orbit—goes awry. The wormhole leads to one of the hypothesized habitable planets that orbit the TRAPPIST-1 star found in the constellation Aquarius. There, Catherine and her crew make first contact with what turns out to be a hostile species.

The Return Home

The main plot driver is not so much the mission but rather the challenges Catherine has when returning home to Earth. She has amnesia about much of her mission and only knows that she is the sole survivor of her crew. In between her struggles with the family she left behind for nine years and the mistrust of many of her colleagues at NASA, Catherine slowly begins to piece together what went wrong on the mission to TRAPPIST-1.

She hadn’t expected that so much about coming home would hurt this much. The pain of understanding the scope of her memory loss… The pain of returning without her crew. And the pain of just being.

First Encounter

A few aliens do make an appearance and I think they’re pretty cool! As Catherine’s memory comes back to her toward the end of the book, we learn that many of the geological formations on one of the semi-habitable planets were actually sentient all along.

They prove to be less than happy with mankind and its penchant for colonizing the unknown. These hive-mind creatures infect many of the crew, including Catherine. Her escape from their power once on Earth makes for a fun read.

Highly Recommended

I love having a bit of sci-fi in the mix and Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols proved to be a fun, quick read that I highly recommend!

*Reviewed by T. F. Rhoden. Visit the author Lisa A. Nichols’ website. Image-photo credit for the top of this post is from the talented eReSaW at DeviantArt. Unless otherwise stated, all posts on this website are under Creative Commons licence.


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