My 5-star Review for
The Terra Debacle
The dual treats of The Terra Debacle are: 1) spending time with my favorite character, Thyron (a sentient plant-based alien dubbed flora peas telepathis); and 2) meeting a new character in this extension of Marcha Fox’s Star Trails Tetralogy universe. I rate this book an easy five stars.
It’s 1978, and new character Gabriel “Gabe” Greenley is the expert called in to assess the odd plant we know not only to be intelligent, but telepathic. Turns out, so is Gabe. He’s “psi-sensitive,” so he can pick up thoughts and even learn to send thoughts to the creature. It won’t take long for him to discover Thyron is way more complicated than he wants his superiors to know. Problem is, the man in charge is psi-sensitive, too. Gabe decides he respects, then likes, then eventually cares about this odd plant-looking being; and he sure wants to learn as much as he can without losing control or even access to his top-secret discovery.
From there Marcha weaves a fine tale, that “first contact” element expanded to the point of thriller as Gabe races to understand Thyron so he can protect him. Thyron has other plans that even Gabe doesn’t know about, along with skills Gabe would never guess. Stranded on Earth with his companions, a fun and funny super-robot and a human girl in her teens, Thyron is in greater danger than we suspect at first. Of course, the outcome we readers want appears to be impossible as everybody must make difficult choices.
I’m a throw-back sci-fi reader, way more interested in the character-driven stories of Heinlein and Clarke than so much of the contemporary gee-whiz future-tech and dystopian survival tales that hew to graphic-novel formulas these days. That makes it easy to be a fan of Marcha Fox’s work, and The Terra Debacle makes it even easier. Be advised, the story includes a lot of authentic explanation for how a character like Thyron could exist, as well as how he could use his extraordinary capabilities. Some readers might not be as interested in those details as others, but for most of us, it adds authenticity along with fun make-you-think ideas. Marcha handles this deftly, offering just enough explanation to keep the story humming along with verisimilitude.
I highly recommend The Terra Debacle. I also recommend Marcha’s novella The Sappharin Agenda (sold separately) as a fine short tale in which we meet and better understand Thyron. Marcha Fox has me hooked now, eagerly awaiting the next Star Trails tale, with my fingers crossed that it just might even include my favorite character, that goofy-looking plant that talks with his mind.
And then some.
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